TPR Material: Why It Is a Good Choice for Cable Jacket

FACTS CHECKED BY  Jose George​

Nowadays, a series of power to the wire and cable industry for primary insulation and jacketing applications. Why? And what are the electrical properties and dielectric properties of the TPR material? Today,  we are trying to discover this in this article!

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What Is Thermoplastic Rubber Material?

TPR is an abbreviation for thermoplastic rubber, which uses polyolefin as a base. These materials are unique to the industry because they provide the economic benefits normally associated with thermoplastic processing but produce finished products with the properties of vulcanized rubber. In another word, it’s a plastic and rubber mix. 

Thanks to that, it’s suitable for injection molding applications and other uses that need stress crack resistance. In addition, TPR can do well in low temperatures. Furthermore, its flexibility is surprising, as well as its resistance to oil. So, you’ll often find TPR in portable cords used at an industrial level.

Physical Properties

Some general TPR properties include reusability and recyclability. In addition, it mixes rubber and plastic features to deliver maximum bang for the buck. 

TPR Material 1

Chemical Resistance

These substances have excellent chemical resistance. However, it’s hard to rate them, so consider the scores below as guidelines. The vital thing is that they are very resistant to greases and oils. Furthermore, they react well to dilute alkalis and acids, and aliphatic hydrocarbons. Also, they handle alcohols and halogenated hydrocarbons well. On the other hand, TPR has poor resistance to aromatic hydrocarbons.

TPR Material 2

Why Do You Need a Cable Jacket?

A jacket is the cable’s external layer. You could compare it to clothing pieces. They protect us from environmental factors, while jackets protect cables from potential dangers. A cable jacket protects conductors, insulation, and shielding from chemical, flame, water, and mechanical damage.

Now, cable jackets aren’t the same thing as their armor. However, you can expect decent protection and weather resistance. Therefore, jackets have a wide range of applications in industries.

Major Jacket Characteristics to Consider

Here is a brief explanation of major characteristics to help you choose:

  • Flexibility. The levels of flexibility vary, and they affect how easy it is to use the cable. If you plan on flexing it, this is an important characteristic to maximize its lifespan.
  • Resistance to chemical compounds. Will you expose cables to different substances? If yes, you’ll need excellent chemical resistance for these typical applications.
  • Temperature flexibility. If you install the cable in winter climates, make sure the jacket handles a low ambient temperature. Is elevated temperature a frequent case in the surroundings? Then you should pick a jacket that can resist heat well.
  • Elastic memory. It’s vital in coil wires and other areas where you need flexibility in handling the units.
  • Flame resistance. Some electrical applications have a high fire hazard. So, go with maximum flame resistance to lower the risk.

Approval. Do your outdoor applications need to follow specific standards? For example, check if any guidelines refer to cable jackets.

TPR Material 3

Caption: Various stripped wires 

TPR Material Advantages

Now, here’s the overview of the specific reasons to use this material:

  • Suitable for plastics machinery. You can use conventional equipment to process it. Therefore, there’s no additional cost for the expensive gear.
  • Many options are available. You can use jackets for commercial applications and other uses. They have superior abrasion resistance.

It has a fast and simple production process. However, it takes much longer to make thermoset rubber.

TPR Material Drawbacks

While it delivers many advantages, no product is perfect. For example,

  • It has a high level of ruggedness. While it ensures excellent weather resistance, it also affects the ease of handling.
  • The bending properties aren’t impressive. It depends on the unit, but this can lead to complex material processing.
  • It can be heavy. If the overall cable weight matters to you, it helps to know TPR can get heavy.

The good news is the drawbacks depend on the jacket type you choose. If you pick maximum compatibility for your use, you’ll minimize the bad sides.

What Is the Difference Between TPR and TPE Materials?

It’s easy to confuse TPR with thermoplastic elastomers. Now, these materials are similar and share some performance characteristics. For example, TPR and TPE rival thermoset materials in abrasion resistance and surface texture, but they are usually not as rugged as PUR. 

But, there are significant differences to consider when choosing your material.

TPE originates from SEBS, while TPR comes from SBS. Thanks to this, TPR is more challenging during molding. Furthermore, it’s more flexible and has a higher physical range than TPE. If you need an optimal performance in cold climates, TPE is a better and cheaper option. It delivers flexibility and optimal oil resistance.

Four cables close-up

Caption: Four cables close-up

TRP Material Toxicity

Thermoplastic rubber is free from BPA and PVC. Therefore, it’s children and pet-safe. You’ll often see TPR in food products and toys, but also in medical applications. For example, everyday use is in catheters since they deliver the softness that patients need. PVC isn’t a safe option for all products, and TPR is an affordable replacement.

Other Types of Jackets

Here’s a brief overview of the choices for a jacket base material:

  • PVC (Polyvinylchloride). Polyvinylchloride is highly customizable, making it a good fit for many applications. You’ll often find PVC in residential applications, and incredibly portable extension cords. Additionally, PVC is an affordable solution for automation cables. Apart from the low cost, it offers decent flexibility and ruggedness. It’s also resistant to oil and flame.
  • PUR (Polyurethane). The main advantage of polyurethane is elasticity. Therefore, it’s suitable for coil wires. PUR has excellent abrasion resistance and keeps flexibility in low temperatures. It performs well when exposed to oil and ozone.
  • Thermoset Polyolefins. These include CSPE, CPE, and similar substances. The compounds are flexible in cold climates and have rugged characteristics. They resist heat and handle UV well, so they are famous for welding. They have a special elastic memory.
  • Thermoplastic CPE. Thermoplastic chlorinated polyethylene is suitable for harsh conditions. It’s rigid, light, and features a low friction coefficient. CPE resists oil, moisture, UV, and chemicals well. You’ll find it has a somewhat rough surface texture.
An electrical plug with a colorful cable

Caption: An electrical plug with a colorful cable

Conclusion

TPR is a frequent choice for cable jackets. It mixes the characteristics of rubber and plastic. Thanks to that, it has excellent environmental and chemical resistance. You’ll quickly find a variant that fits your setup. If you need assistance with custom cable assembly, don’t hesitate to contact Gloom.

Get a free Cable Assembly Quote.