Cleveland, Ohio - Lubrizol Corp. is offering soft plasticiser-free thermoplastic polyurethanes (TPUs) for use in athletic footwear.
These Estane grades are an alternative to plasticised TPUs, providing an option "for manufacturers sensitive to today's more stringent requirements," says the manufacturer.
Conventional soft TPUs contain a phthalate-type plasticiser that may be subject to regulation by environmental agencies. Such plasticisers can also gradually migrate to the surface of the moulded product, creating poor aesthetics and altering the bond strength.
These plasticiser-free grades have the same performance of the company's engineered polymers, including excellent flexibility, softness, abrasion resistance and mouldability.
They are available in both a polyester series (Estane T460AH, Estane T460A, Estane T465A and Estane T470A) and a polyether series (Estane T365A and Estane T370A). Lubrizol says they range between 60A to 77A Shore hardness and offer high transparency and outstanding UV stability compared with plasticiser-containing TPUs, "qualities which best fit various shoe accessory components." These products are also ideal as replacements for rubber and PVC in various moulding applications, the company adds.
"The footwear industry is facing significant challenges in a fast-moving competitive environment," said Justin Park, Lubrizol's global marketing manager for footwear, in a statement. "Our soft plasticiser-free portfolio is just one of the ways Lubrizol is positioning itself as a global solutions provider for the athletic footwear industry."