Today, Code was at the Deutsche Kautschuk-Tagung in Nürnberg, better known as the DKT fair. Here, Dipl.-Ing. Jens van Haag (Code Product Solutions) co-presented at the first TPE Forum together with Jan Tom Fernhout (Teknor Apex).

The topic of our presentation was: “Simulation of TPE materials: A common practice?”. We combined the unique material properties portfolio of Teknor Apex with our advanced CAE capabilities to provide the latest insights on this topic. In the following text we will go more into depth on this topic. The text was written by Jan Tom Fernhout (Teknor Apex), Ger Vroomen (Teknor Apex), Dion Besselink (Code Product Solutions) and Jens van Haag (Code Product Solutions).

Simulation of TPE materials: A common practice?

Thermoplastic elastomer (TPE) materials are widely used and can be found frequently in our daily life since they are used in many applications in different kind of industries like: consumer, industrial, packaging, automotive and many others.

State of the art product development includes the use of simulations into the development process, allowing better insights into the products performance in an earlier stage with the goal to increase quality while mean time lowering development times and costs. To ensure a realistic prediction whether a product fulfills all requirements and meets the final expectations of customers, it is key to model the properties of the materials used in a proper way.

Modelling the properties of TPE materials is a challenging task. Due to their network of physical cross-links, TPE materials combine properties common for chemically cross-linked rubber and those of conventional thermoplastics. This means, with simulating parts from TPE, the models must deal with large deformations, hysteresis, and cyclic softening which is typical for rubber on the one side and temperature dependency, larger creep, and irreversible plastic deformations which are typical for thermoplastic materials on the other side. Additionally, TPE materials unfortunately often have unique compositions and differ from one material supplier to the other. Describing all those specific properties mentioned above by one general material model is still a challenge to be tackled by ongoing research. However, making correct assumptions by understanding the materials to be modelled and using commercially available simulation tools in combination with many years of practical experience already allows good predictions of TPEs’ behavior.

In this presentation two practical examples were highlighted, explaining how material properties of TPE are being measured and transferred correctly into commercially available material models. With those models being used it is possible to simulate the behavior of the final product and improve the performance by design optimization.

Based on these two examples it was evaluated how well the simulation represents the actual performance of the part. This is done by validating the simulation models against experimental tests. Additionally, further improvements of the material modelling of TPE were derived from the validation and have been discussed.

Would you like to know more about this topic? Please do not hesitate to contact Dipl.-Ing. Jens van Haag. Click here to get in touch.


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