Eastman and Lubrizol Collaborate to Enhance TPE Overmolding Adhesion with Sustainable Materials

April 30, 2024

KINGSPORT, Tenn., and WICKLIFFE, Ohio — Eastman and Lubrizol have successfully partnered on improving adhesion strength of thermoplastic elastomers (TPEs) overmolded onto Eastman Tritan™ copolyester TX1501HF. The collaboration stemmed from a mutual recognition of overmolding's importance in manufacturing while delivering improved product performance and aesthetics in consumer goods when using Eastman’s sustainable material, Tritan™ Renew, and Lubrizol’s ESTANE® ECO, renewably sourced TPU.

The companies researched how specific processing variables impact the adhesion strength of overmolded samples produced through 2K injection molding. The study’s findings are believed to be applicable across various TPE and substrate combinations. This is of particular interest when mechanical interlocks cannot be used, and material changes are not feasible but improvements in adhesion strengths are desired.

By optimizing key TPE processing variables like mold temperature, pack and hold time, and TPE barrel temperature, the research team achieved a notable 124% improvement in adhesion strength compared to values obtained using non-ideal processing conditions. An additional improvement in adhesion strength was observed when Lubrizol’s ESTANE® ECO 12T80E and 16T85 TPU grades were used.  These grades displayed the highest peel strength values (> 310 N) of all TPEs evaluated in this preliminary study.

“This was a unique opportunity for two leading material companies to leverage sustainable multi-material solutions that enable customer innovations and expand the limits of consumer product experiences,” said Vince Haas, Lubrizol’s engineered polymers senior business director.

“This effort has advanced our understanding of overmolding and TPEs, providing valuable guidance for engineers and manufacturers looking to improve overmolded product strength,” said Courtland Jenkins, Eastman’s commercial director for engineered solutions. “These findings open doors for new and innovative product designs, particularly when using recycled content.”   

For a detailed view of the study, access the white paper.

NPE2024 attendees are invited to visit Lubrizol’s booth #S35017, May 6-10 in Orlando, Fla., to see Tritan™ Renew materials overmolded with ESTANE® ECO technology and can also gain deeper insights through a joint webinar hosted by UL Prospector at 9 a.m. on Wednesday, June 12. Webinar registration link here.

About The Lubrizol Corporation

The Lubrizol Corporation, a Berkshire Hathaway company, is a specialty chemical company whose science delivers sustainable solutions to advance mobility, improve wellbeing and enhance modern life. Founded in 1928, Lubrizol owns and operates more than 100 manufacturing facilities, sales and technical offices around the world and has more than 8,000 employees. For more information, visit www.Lubrizol.com.

About Eastman

Eastman is a global specialty materials company that produces a broad range of products found in items people use every day. With the purpose of enhancing the quality of life in a material way, Eastman is committed to safety, innovation and sustainability. Headquartered in Kingsport, Tennessee, USA, it had 2023 revenues of approximately $9.2 billion. For more information, visit www.eastman.com.

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