Olefinic thermoplastic elastomer (TEO)

TEO Recycling

Jul 29, 2021

Olefinic thermoplastic elastomers, or TEOs, are similar to TPEs in that they are composed of a polyolefin plastic, such as PP or PE, and a rubber component such as ethylene propylene rubber (often abbreviated as EPM or EPDM) [1].

Similarly to TPEs, TEOs often consist of a lattice structure with interwoven thermoplastic regions.

Being a broad term that includes all TPOs, thermoplastic vulcanizates (TPVs), and reactor-made TPOs (r-TPOs), olefinic thermoplastic elastomers can be made to a wide range of specifications [2].

Due to their composite nature, they have gained popularity in the automotive industry especially due to their ease of processing when compared to vulcanized rubber, light weight, and propensity for being recycled (due to having thermoplastic characteristics) [2].

TEOs do not have their own resin identification code due to the wide range of specifications they can be manufactured to, and would likely fall under “other”.

Up to two-thirds of the world’s TEO supply is used in the automotive industry, where it is used anywhere from components in car and truck interiors, exteriors, and under-the-hood [2].

Cable sheathing made from flexible TEOs.

References

[1] Mitsubishi Corporation, “(3) Overview of Thermoplastic Olefinic Elastomers (TPOs) | Products,” Mitsubishi Chemical Corporation, Feb. 08, 2016. https://www.m-chemical.co.jp/en/products/departments/mcc/ams/tech/1203675_7578.html (accessed Jul. 29, 2021).

[2] IHS Markit, “To make better decisions, you need to see the big picture.,” IHS Markit. https://ihsmarkit.com/products/thermoplastic-polyolefin-chemical-economics-handbook.html (accessed Jul. 29, 2021).

Similarly to TPEs, TEOs often consist of a lattice structure with interwoven thermoplastic regions.

TEOs do not have their own resin identification code due to the wide range of specifications they can be manufactured to, and would likely fall under “other”.

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