Thermoplastic elastomers (tpe compounds), are a class of copolymers or a physical mix of polymers (usually a plastic and a rubber) which consist of materials with both thermoplastic and elastomeric properties. TPE compounds show both advantages typical of rubbery materials and plastic materials. The principal difference between thermoset elastomers and tpe compounds is the type of crosslinking bond in their structures. The crosslink in thermoset polymers is a covalent bond created during the vulcanization process.
TPE compounds are used where conventional elastomers cannot provide the range of physical properties needed in the product. TPE compounds can be molded, extruded and reused like plastics so these materials have the potential to be recyclable.