A new class of thermoplastic elastomer (TPE) compounds that is fully RoHS-compliant meets stringent UL criteria for fire retardance while providing flexibility and toughness over a broad temperature range, it was announced today by Teknor Apex Company. The company's Thermoplastic Elastomer Division introduced the new TPEs last month at IWCS / Focus.
The new additions to the Elexar® product range are available with hardnesses from Shore 56A to 90A and recommended by the company for insulation, jackets, and molded parts for flexible cords, coil cords, and cables in power tools, appliances, industrial robots, welding equipment, and entertainment audio and lighting systems. Data on three of the new grades appear in the accompanying table.
"The breadth of applications for which the new Elexar compounds are well suited is unique among TPEs for wire and cable," said Phil Scadding, market manager. "Besides providing enhanced flame retardance, these compounds deliver excellent performance at temperature extremes and in outdoor environments, exhibit rubber-like flexibility, are oil-resistant, and are available in a broad range of hardnesses."
Key characteristics of the new materials cited by Scadding include:
- RoHS-compliance: The new Elexar TPE grades deliver excellent fire retardant performance without use of polybrominated diphenyl ether (PBDE) flame retardant.
- Enhanced flame retardance. All of the new Elexar grades meet UL94 V-0 flame test requirements as well as those for UL-1581 / VW-1, UL-1581 / method 1061, and CSA / FT-1. The compounds, on average, have a limiting oxygen index of 30% and exhibit no dripping when burned.
- Broad service-temperature range. The flexibility and toughness of the new Elexar compounds make them suitable for use at temperatures down to -50°C. The grades are also formulated to pass a UL-1581 continuous rating of 125°C.
- Good electrical properties. The new Elexar compounds have a dielectric constant of 2.4 and exhibit minimal dissipation losses, making them suitable for data/communication and other low- to medium-voltage wire and cable applications.