• TPU

What kind of material is TPU? What is TPU, which is used in our everyday life?

The term “TPU” is not very familiar to many people. But in fact, TPU is used in many familiar products such as smartphone cases and sneaker soles, and is indispensable to our modern life.
In this issue, we will talk about TPU, a “little-known but actually amazing material.

What is TPU?

Have you ever heard of TPU? TPU” is a type of plastic called “Thermoplastic Polyurethane,” and is also commonly referred to as “urethane rubber” or “urethane resin. When you hear the word “plastic,” you may think of something hard like a game console or washing machine, but TPU is a high-molecular material with the softness of rubber. For example, think of your smartphone case or the soles of your sneakers. There are other types of “industrial materials with rubber-like elasticity” like TPU, and they are collectively called “elastomers. TPU is also sometimes called “TPU elastomer” or “thermoplastic polyurethane estramer.
Incidentally, “thermoplasticity” of TPU = thermoplastic polyurethane refers to the property of softening when heated above a certain temperature and hardening when cooled.

Features, merits and demerits of PU

Next, let’s take a look at the characteristics of TPU, which, even after heat molding, can be reformed into a different shape by applying heat again because the bonds between molecules do not become stronger. TPU is also a material that is attracting attention because of its ability to be reused. TPU is used in a wide variety of products because it combines the impact resistance and flexibility that are characteristics of polyurethane.
In addition, TPU has many other characteristics, such as rubber elasticity, abrasion resistance, bending resistance, heat resistance, and can be easily colored. The advantages and disadvantages of TPU are summarized below.


  • Excellent abrasion resistance
  • High mechanical strength
  • Various types of hardness
  • Excellent impact strength
  • Excellent oil and chemical resistance
  • Excellent low-temperature properties
  • Excellent weather resistance and ozone resistance
  • Excellent rubber elasticity and flexibility
  • Excellent sound and vibration dampening effects


  • Moisture sensitive
  • Yellowing under the influence of ultraviolet rays

What is the difference between TPU and PU? Are they the same material?

A word similar to TPU is “PU”. Here we will explain the difference between TPU and UP. As mentioned earlier, TPU stands for “Thermoplastic Polyurethane. Unlike TPU, PU hardens when it is heated and cooled, and does not melt or soften when heated afterwards. TPU is also easy to heat-mold, making it an ideal material for injection molding and other mass-production processes. However, because of its low heat resistance, TPU melts when heat is applied.

TPU has a wide range of applications

TPU, with its many features and advantages, is used in a variety of fields and industries. As explained earlier, TPU is widely used in industrial parts because of its excellent abrasion resistance, weather resistance, and oil resistance. In addition, TPU’s superior mechanical strength and bendability are utilized in electric wires and cables. Other familiar examples of TPU include cover cases for smartphones and tablets, wristbands for smartwatches, soles for sneakers and sports shoes, and adhesive bandages.
The following is a partial list of products in which TPU is used.

IndustrialRollers, gears, packing, grips, construction materials, high pressure hoses, pneumatic tubes, hydraulic tubes, fuel tubes, etc.
AutomotiveHeadrests, instrument panel, gear knob, console box surface, leather seats, bumpers, etc.
MedicalMedical catheters, medical tubing and tape, bandage, etc.
Cable,BeltElectric wires, communication cables, conveyor belts, etc.
Other / Daily necessitiesPhone cases and covers, shoes, adhesives, coatings, etc.

The table above is just a partial list of applications, but we hope you can see that TPU is closely related to our daily lives.

Although TPU is used in such a wide range of industrial fields, it also has its weaknesses, such as “weak against water” and “yellowing,” which were mentioned in the section on TPU’s characteristics and disadvantages. In the next issue, we will discuss the few weak points of TPU, an excellent material, and countermeasures against them.