TPU Film Application - Our Most Versatile Coating
Published 21st August 2023
Thermoplastic polyurethane, better known as TPU, is one of Redwoods most versatile products. Our TPU film applications can be found right across industry, from automotive to aerospace, commercial applications to consumer products. TPU also plays a key role in many of our market leading medical products including medical mattresses.
But what are TPUs, and why are they so flexible and so widely used?
What is thermoplastic polyurethane or TPU?
TPU was discovered by a scientist called Otto Bayer in Leverkusen in Germany in 1937 (although he is no relation to the modern Bayer chemical company). It’s built from what’s known as a block copolymer, in which the chemical structure has alternating ‘blocks’ of hard and soft segments. It’s these blocks that can be manipulated to create such a wide variety of properties.
By making subtle changes to elements such as the structure of the copolymer, the ratio of the hard and soft areas and the molecular weight of the components, TPU film applications can be tailor-made to suit your exact requirements for strength, flexibility, durability and much more.
Different types of TPU
There are two main types of TPU film applications: those based on polyester and those based on polyether. Redwood offers both formulations. While the two different TPU groups share many similar properties, including abrasion resistance, mechanical strength and low temperature flexibility, they do differ in some aspects: polyester-based TPUs are better at resisting heat ageing, have a higher chemical resistance and a greater adhesion strength, while polyether-based TPU film applications have greater hydrolysis protection and microbial resistance.
Properties of TPU film applications
TPU film applications share many properties with both plastic and rubber, combining the best of both to create a truly versatile film. High tensile strength and break resistance during elongation give TPU film applications high elasticity, strong abrasion resistance and high shear strength. As such, TPU film applications are an ideal way to deliver durable protection for a wide range of surfaces and fabrics.
Compared to plastic and rubber, TPU is much more environmentally friendly. It’s both biodegradable and can be recycled, so there’s no plastic waste, and it doesn’t require the harvesting of precious resources like rubber. Furthermore, its strong, durable performance extends the life of many products, reducing waste.
Customised TPU film applications
Redwood offers a comprehensive range of TPU film applications to suit the precise demands of the end user without compromise. The films can be produced as clear, translucent or opaque, in a full spectrum of tints and solid colours. Furthermore, additives can be included, and changes can be made to the chemical composition of the TPU, to deliver exceptional performance in a diverse range of circumstances.
For example, fire-resistant and low smoke films are formulated for aerospace applications, bacteria resistant films for medical use, and films with excellent oil and grease resistance for the automotive industry. Our latest research and development has created a high-slip TPU which is ideal for patient handling products for healthcare settings, making transfers both simpler and safer.
Redwood is flexible in its manufacturing too. Our TPU films can be produced across a range of hardness ratings, from 82-95 Shore A, in a huge selection of thicknesses, from 25 microns to 750 microns, and delivered in rolls up to 1600 mm wide.
Trusted TPU film application experts
Since Otto Bayer’s discovery in 1937, thermoplastic polyurethane has become ubiquitous across the world. Chances are there are some on your desktop, throughout your home and in your car. There’s probably a TPU film application protecting the device you’re reading this blog on.
Redwood are proud to be at the forefront of TPU formulation and manufacturing, with a diverse range of clients across the world putting our TPU film applications to a whole world of uses. If you’d like to find out more about Redwood’s TPU production, and how it can be tailor-made to your specific requirements, from the molecular level to mass manufacturing, get in touch with our expert team today.