TPU Film explained
Thermoplastic Polyurethane (TPU) is commonly used as a film or sheet material due to its unique properties and versatility. TPU films are thin, flexible & highly durable sheets or membranes made from TPU polymers and commonly used in industries such as textiles lamination, automotive, packaging, marine, medical, military & outdoor.
The two most commonly used types pf TPU Polymer are:
- Polyester TPU’s are commonly used in applications that require resistance to hydrocarbons, fats, oils and solvents. They are less resistant to moisture and hydrolysis.
- Polyether TPU’s have better hydrolytic stability, thus performing better in humid conditions over a longer period of time.
Key characteristics and benefits of TPU films:
1. Flexibility and Elasticity: TPU films offer excellent flexibility and elasticity, allowing them to conform to different shapes and withstand repeated bending without cracking or breaking. This flexibility makes them suitable for applications where the film needs to stretch or move with the substrate.
2. Transparency and Clarity: TPU films can exhibit excellent transparency and optical clarity, enabling them to be used in applications where visibility or see-through properties are desired. They can provide a clear protective layer without obstructing the view of the underlying materials.
3. Mechanical Strength: Despite being thin, TPU films have good mechanical strength and toughness. They possess high tensile strength and tear resistance, making them durable and resistant to abrasion or punctures. This property allows TPU films to provide protective barriers and withstand demanding conditions.
4. Water and Moisture Resistance: Polyether TPU films are inherently water-resistant and exhibit excellent moisture barrier properties. This makes them suitable for applications that require protection against water, humidity, or moisture, such as moisture barriers in textiles, waterproof clothing, or moisture-resistant packaging.
5. Air holding: TPU films generally have good air holding capability due to their inherent properties. The film's flexibility and elasticity allow it to conform to the shape of the enclosed air, creating a sealed or semi-sealed environment. The film's mechanical strength and resistance to punctures or tears help prevent the escape of trapped air.
6. Chemical Resistance: TPU films demonstrate good resistance to many chemicals, oils, solvents, and common household chemicals. This resistance helps protect the film and the substrate from potential damage caused by exposure to various substances.
7. Breathability: TPU films can be formulated to be breathable, allowing air and moisture vapor to pass through while blocking liquids. This property makes them suitable for applications such as breathable membranes in sportswear, medical dressings, or air-permeable packaging.
8. Adhesion and Bonding: TPU films have excellent adhesion properties, enabling them to bond securely to a variety of substrates, including fabrics, plastics, metals, and foams. This facilitates lamination or bonding processes, allowing TPU films to be integrated into composite materials or multilayer structures.
9. Processability: TPU films can be easily thermoformed, heat-sealed, welded, or laminated, thanks to their thermoplastic nature. This allows for efficient processing and fabrication into different shapes, sizes, and forms to meet specific application requirements.
TPU films find applications in a wide range of industries, including protective films, membranes, laminates, inflatable structures, marine safety, medical devices, automotive interiors, sportswear, and more. Their combination of flexibility, strength, transparency, and resistance to environmental factors makes them a versatile choice for a wide variety of demanding applications.