TPV: Is It Rubber or Plastic?

TPV is the new material which has bridged the gap between plastics and rubber. Increasingly designers are turning to TPV as their material of choice, but why is this hybrid becoming so popular?

What is TPV?

TPV, also known by its full name of Thermoplastic Vulcanisate, is a form of rubber which has been vulcanised during the compounding process. This means that the polymers are converted into more durable materials through the introduction of crosslinks.

The structure of the initial rubber has changed to create a more durable and useful material. Additionally, this material is extremely customisable – it can fulfil a variety of different requirements which is part of the reason it is such a popular product to use.


Characteristics are where the lines between plastics and rubber slightly blur for this material. These are just a few of the characteristics that TPV holds:

  • The material is extremely durable.
  • The durability of the material improves its recovery to any deformation.
  • Low impact to the product from aggressive components of outdoor exposure.
  • High resistance to specific solvents, fats and oils.
  • High thermal resistance.
  • 100% recyclable.

All of these characteristics work together to produce the extremely useful and flexible product which is TPV – it isn’t hard to see why this material is becoming so popular.


TPV compounds are used extensively in various different industries and the different characteristics of this material aid in this versatility.

The industries that most commonly use TPV compounds are:

  • Automotive
  • Construction
  • Electronics
  • Consumer Markets

There has been strong growth in the use of this compound in the automotive industry recently, and this is down to the automotive/pipe seals which require a material with extremely high heat tolerance.


It’s no surprise that designers are turning to this compound when you see how many benefits this material actually holds and of course this differs depending on the required application. Some of the benefits include:

  • Can be fully coloured with ease and without impacting any properties (this is only in certain series’ of TPV materials).
  • Fully customisable, g. flow characteristics, gravity and strength resistance.
  • High resistance to solvents, oils and fats.
  • High rates of performance at high temperatures.
  • Resistance to oxidation, abrasion and tear.
  • 100% recyclable.
  • Design flexibility.

The gap between plastics and rubbers has been slightly bridged by the development of these compounds and this is only being helped by the increase in designers turning to TPV as their material of choice. The future looks bright for TPV and we can’t wait to see what the next development for this compound will be.


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