What Is TPE? Which Is Better, TPE or Thermal Silicone?

What Is TPE? Which Is Better, TPE or Thermal Silicone?

Recently some friends asked what is TPE and what is the difference between thermal silicone and TPE? , It happens that the editor of CoolThermo Technology has also been in touch with this piece, and I will share it with you today.

First, the definition of thermal silicone and TPE

Thermally conductive silica gel is made of organic silica gel as the main body, added with fillers, thermal conductive materials and other polymer materials. Thermally conductive silica gel is mainly used in industrial supplies, such as motors, electronic controls, batteries, IGBTs, motors, power supplies, chips, etc. Ordinary silica gel is a thermosetting elastomer with the advantages of safety and non-toxicity, insoluble in water and any solvent, non-toxic and tasteless, stable in chemical properties, does not react with any substances except strong alkali and hydrofluoric acid, and has high adsorption performance. , good thermal stability, stable chemical properties, the earliest widely used in adult products, food products.

TPE material, also known as thermoplastic elastomer, is a kind of polymer material with both plastic and rubber properties, showing high elasticity of rubber at room temperature, and plasticizing and molding at high temperature (without vulcanization). The structural feature of thermoplastic elastomers is that different resin segments and rubber segments are composed of chemical bonds. The resin segment forms physical cross-linking points by virtue of interchain force, and the rubber segment is a highly elastic segment that contributes to elasticity. The physical crosslinking of the plastic segments is reversible with temperature, showing the plastic processing properties of thermoplastic elastomers. Therefore, thermoplastic elastomer has the physical and mechanical properties of vulcanized rubber and the processing properties of thermoplastics. It is a new type of polymer material between rubber and resin, and is often referred to as the third-generation rubber.

Second, the difference between thermal silicone and TPE

  1. Thermally conductive silica gel is a kind of special rubber. It has good mechanical strength, wear resistance and high temperature resistance after cross-linking. It belongs to thermosetting rubber, and it will not melt when heated after vulcanization. The thermal conductivity of Novotel’s thermally conductive silica gel ranges from 1.0-8.0W/M.K. Withstand voltage 10KV/MM. Hardness at shore00 20-90. TPE is a general term for a variety of elastomer materials that have rubber elasticity at room temperature and can melt and flow at high temperatures.
  2. They are different in analytical structure: thermally conductive silica gel is an elastomer connected by silicon-oxygen bonds in the main chain, and the side chain is generally methyl, that is, CH3. TPE is a thermoplastic elastomer, which includes styrene, olefin, and polyurethane. The main difference between the two molecular structures is that one is SI02 structure and the other is CC structure.
  3. From the point of view of processing performance: thermally conductive silica gel needs to be vulcanized and heated to form, while TPE can be processed and formed without vulcanization. The processing of thermally conductive silica gel is difficult to form, while the production and processing of TPE is simple.
  4. Thermally conductive silica gel has advantages over TPE in terms of high temperature resistance. Thermally conductive silica gel generally has a temperature resistance between 200 degrees and 300 degrees, while TPE theoretically generally has a high temperature resistance of 130-150 degrees Celsius, and if it is higher, it will age and crack. For applications with strict temperature requirements, you must be careful when selecting materials.
  5. The price of thermally conductive silica gel is generally more than 30,000 yuan per ton, while the general price of TPE is between 13,000 and 30,000. TPE has an advantage in price, except for special TPE materials, such as halogen-free flame retardant, food grade and so on. In addition, the manufacturing process of thermally conductive silica gel is complex, and the processing is also complicated. So the overall cost will be higher than TPE.
  6. From the perspective of cost, the waste of thermal conductive silica gel cannot be recycled. TPE waste, nozzle material, leftover material, etc. can be completely recycled and reused, and TPE can save more costs. However, the thermal conductive silicone has a longer service life. GLPOLY thermal conductive silicone has been verified by a third-party for 10 years of aging test. It is no problem to use it for 10 years, and the quality and reliability are guaranteed.

Third, which is softer, thermal silicone or TPE?

The general hardness of thermally conductive silicone is between 0A and 70A, while the general hardness of TPE is 0A-100A, and the softest can reach 000 degrees or 00000 degrees, so TPE is softer, and thermally conductive silicone has stronger plasticity.

Fourth, which is better between thermal silica gel and TPE?

Both materials have their own advantages, but in terms of processing performance, recyclability, and cost price, TPE satisfies the places that thermally conductive silicone materials cannot meet, but the most important point is that TPE has insufficient temperature resistance and high-power devices. When the temperature is above 100 °C, it is obvious that thermal conductive silica gel is the best, and the excellent thermal conductivity filling and insulating properties of thermal conductive silica gel are unmatched by TPE. Thermally conductive silica gel can also be made into paste to meet the design requirements of various mounting surfaces and to be seamlessly connected. Thermally conductive silicone is currently the preferred material to replace TPE!

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