Application and characteristics of TPE material in wire and cable industry
Abstract: TPE has the characteristics of both plastic and rubber, and is called “third-generation synthetic rubber”. In TPE, SBS styrene copolymer occupies an important position. It is currently the largest and fastest growing environmentally friendly thermoplastic elastomer material in the world, which can replace PVC and soft vulcanized rubber.
TPE has the characteristics of both plastic and rubber, and is called “third-generation synthetic rubber”. In TPE, SBS styrene block copolymer occupies an important position. It is currently the largest and fastest growing environmentally friendly thermoplastic elastomer material in the world, which can replace PVC and soft vulcanized rubber.
The main performance requirements of TPE are used in the outer casing and insulation of wires. The main performance requirements and applications of elastomers used in electrical wires are mainly low voltage or DC, communication and other flexible wires. The required electrical performance is lower. Usually the requirements are slightly different from cables, mainly for temperature resistance grades, electrical properties (dielectric constant, pressure resistance grade), mechanical properties (tensile strength, elongation), chemical properties (oil resistance), flame retardancy, etc.
Many types of elastomers are used in cable jackets and insulation. There are many types of thermoplastic elastomers. The main types of thermoplastic elastomers used in cable jackets and insulation are polyolefin-based thermoplastic elastomers (TPO) and styrene-based thermoplastic elastomers (SBC). , Thermoplastic Polyurethane Elastomer (TPU), Polyester Thermoplastic Elastomer (TPEE), etc. Among them, TPO and SBC are mainly used for cable jackets and insulating layers due to their excellent insulation resistance properties. TPU and TPEE are commonly used for cable jackets.
Halogen-free flame retardant thermoplastic elastomer is based on resin and rubber, and the composite material with halogen-free flame retardant contains a large amount of organic compounds, which has certain flammability, and adding flame retardant can prevent it from flame retardant. combustion. Flame retardants exert their flame retardant effects through various mechanisms, such as endothermic effects, covering effects, inhibition of chain reactions and asphyxiation of non-combustible gases. Most flame retardants achieve the purpose of flame retardant through the joint action of several mechanisms.
1. Compared with other traditional wire and cable materials, what are the advantages of TPE?
Halogen-free flame retardants and low-smoke halogen-free are the big trends, recyclable, environmentally friendly and ROHS-compliant to meet UL requirements. Excellent processability: It can be processed at the temperature of 180~220℃, and TPE processing is the most convenient way to save energy. Most thermoplastic elastomers do not require vulcanization or have short vulcanization times, which can effectively save energy. Excellent heat resistance: The heat resistance of 136℃×168hr can have both flexibility and surface smoothness at the same time, humanized, and human body compatibility can pass the physical property test: such as tensile strength test, elongation test can be Pass the electrical performance test
PVC smoke is relatively large, which does not meet the escape requirements; and the environmentally friendly PVC formula is immature, and the cost requirements are also high. In terms of environmental protection, PVC materials cannot be compared with TPE. Compared with TPR, smoke-free and halogen-free TPE products are used in large public places (subway, shopping malls, etc.), and have good electrical insulation, UV resistance, chemical resistance, no harmful substances when burning, and there is a tendency to burn . Gradually replacing PVC, it may be mandatory to use halogen-free materials, such as TPE halogen-free flame retardant cables, but also PE or EVA substrate connectors, switches, sockets, computer cables, mouse wheels, telephone wires, mobile phone housing antennas, electronic buttons, electrical Supports or bases and camera parts.
2. Are there some problems with TPE flame retardants?
There are many types of halogen-free flame retardants: MCA melamine cyanurate, APP ammonium polyphosphate, MPP melamine pyrophosphate and phosphorus nitrogen are mainly aimed at high-end products and products with higher requirements. Phosphorus and nitrogen intumescent halogen-free flame retardants are rarely used. The flame retardants used are usually self-bonding, you won’t simply use a range of flame retardants as they reduce cost, but often cause compatibility and other physical issues.
3. Cost issues
Currently, the biggest issue limiting non-halogenation is cost. For economic reasons, usage by end businesses has not increased, resulting in higher overall costs. market, because most companies do not really import halogen-free, non-toxic market. Currently, only Samsung and NOKIA electronic peripheral lines are completely halogen-free. APPLE is completely halogen-free; other brands are only partially halogen-free in some high-end models such as SONY, HP, Asus, Lenovo, etc.
4. Flame retardant problem
The key and difficult problem in the preparation of halogen-free flame-retardant cable materials is: how to balance and consider halogen-free, high flame retardancy, high fluidity, high tensile properties and high heat resistance. TPE formulations are more complex, and the formulation composition of blending manufacturers can vary greatly in process requirements. The person who makes the material has very little knowledge about the wire, and the person who makes the wire has very little knowledge about the material. This is the status quo. In addition, due to the lack of practical application of large-scale production and the emphasis on equipment factors, the preparation process is completely backward, resulting in extremely unstable quality of halogen-free flame retardant wires.