What Are the Differences Between TPO and TPE?

What Are the Differences Between TPO and TPE?


TPO and TPE, the names of the two look similar, what are they? What is the relationship between them? What is the difference between them in production, performance and use? Let's find out together!

TPO is short for thermoplastic polyolefin, which means thermoplastic elastomer material with polyolefin added.

TPE (thermoplastic elastomer) is also called TPR (thermoplastic rubber). Generally speaking, TPE refers to the general term of all thermoplastic elastomer materials, including TPO, TPV, TPU, TPVC, TPEE, TPA, SBS, SEBS, etc. They are composed of different TPE materials due to the addition of different organic compounds.

From this point of view, TPO can be regarded as a subclass of TPE.
TPO sheet roll

TPE is called this name because it has the characteristics of both plastic and rubber. It shows the high elasticity of rubber at room temperature, and can be thermoplastically formed at high temperature.

TPO is composed of rubber and polyolefin. Usually the rubber component is EPDM, nitrile rubber (NBR) or butyl rubber, and the polyolefin component is mainly PP, PE or EVA. Currently the fastest growing and most widely used TPO is a thermoplastic elastomer compounded by EPDM (ethylene propylene diene monomer) and PP (polypropylene).

The commonality of TPO and TPE lies in the high elasticity, high toughness and high strength of rubber and the thermoforming performance of thermoplastics. As for the difference between them lies in the manufacture, performance and use.

TPE material
TPO sheet roll
  • Manufacturing: The two materials are suitable for different processing techniques. TPO is suitable for vacuum molding process. We first produce TPO into TPO sheet, then heat it to soften, shape it on the vacuum mold, and then manually trim it after cooling. However, TPE is suitable for the injection molding process, we directly inject its raw material (like plastic particles) into the injection molding machine and then shape it.
  • Performance: TPO has added polyolefin compounds, which makes it feel harder and closer to plastic. TPE has a softer touch, close to rubber.
  • Usage: they are both commonly used in the manufacture of interior and exterior auto parts. TPO products are made of TPO sheets, which are thinner and have better self-supporting properties, and are commonly used for trunk mats. While TPE products are made by injection molding, its thickness can be thicker. TPE foot pads can have a better foot feel and are chosen by more users.
POLYREFLEX HI-TECH specializes in the manufacture of TPO sheets. When a customer is looking for TPO sheets, we will recommend and customize the suitable TPO type according to their specific requirements and uses. If you are an auto parts manufacturer, we are glad you found this blog, please do not hesitate to get a quote from us.Email: sale@polyreflex.com   WhatsApp: +8613828266785