Terratek Flex Elastomers

Elastomers are incredibly versatile materials capable of filling a wide variety of product applications. These rubber substitutes are known for their durability, pliability and strength. They can also be formulated to be incredibly resilient, meaning they are able to return to their original shape after significant stretching.

Elastomers are used heavily in the automotive industry as durable, puncture-resistant seals, to absorb impact in interior applications and as protection for wire and cables. They are also used to form the soles of footwear, home cookware, well as for packing where durability and sealing are important. Elastomers can also be formulated to be soft enough as to be suitable as toys for very young children when free from harmful chemicals such as phthalates and bisphenol A.

They can be made to have good resistance to both high and low temperatures, are compatible with most existing plastic processing equipment and can be processed using many of the most common techniques such as extrusion and injection molding.

But Terratek Flex from Green Dot is a different type of elastomer. It combines the traditional qualities listed above with one more, environmentally friendly property that has the potential to change the way we think about these materials: compostability. The market’s first biodegradable elastomer can be completely composted once it has reached the end of its useful life.

Like many of the materials we make here at Green Dot, the potential applications for a biodegradable elastomer are limited only by the imagination of the designer. Elastomers are already known as highly versatile products that have achieved widespread use in industrial, commercial and consumer categories. Now, biodegradable elastomers from Green Dot are adding another unique point of value in sustainability. Unlike many traditional elastomers, consumers can count on Terratek Flex from Green Dot not being around to share the planet with future generations.

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Terratek Flex biodegradable elastomer

Terratek® Flex GDH-B1 is the market’s first bioplastic elastomer verified to meet U.S. (ASTM D6400-04) and E.U. (EN 13432) standards for compostability in an industrial composting environment. It is formulated with up to 35 percent biobased content. This bioplastic can also be left to biodegrade in a home composting environment.

Terratek Flex GDH-B1 is a starch-based elastomer that is strong, durable and pliable with an exquisite soft touch. It has been tested by NSF International and is verified to meet child safety standards in the U.S., Canada, Europe, Australia and New Zealand.

Terratek Flex is suitable for most plastics applications including, injection molding, profile extrusion and extruded sheet. It can be used on existing equipment without modification.

Advantages and benefits

  • Compostable – meets U.S. and E.U. standards for industrial composting and will also biodegrade in a home composting environment
  • Safe – NSF tested safe and free of phthalates, bisphenol A, lead and cadmium
  • Durable – strong and pliable
  • Superior processing – reduces time and production costs

Application examples

  • Durable packaging
  • Footwear
  • Automotive accessories
  • Household products
  • Infant and children’s toys

Processing biodegradable thermoplastic elastomers

Biodegradable thermoplastic elastomers such as Terratek® Flex exhibit similar processing characteristics as their conventional counterparts, though the resin must be dried prior to processing. Processing temperatures must be kept under about 400° Fahrenheit to prevent shearing, or the buildup of friction which can cause biocomposites to burn, discolor and degrade. In injection molding, lower injection speeds and larger gates and runners can also work to alleviate shear buildup during processing. Biodegradable thermoplastic elastomers can also be processed using blow molding, blown film, sheet extrusion and profile extrusion.

Biodegradable thermoplastic elastomers can be compounded with other bioplastics to achieve any number of desired performance properties. For example, biodegradable thermoplastic elastomers are a good impact modifier for polylactic acid (PLA), a common bio-based and biodegradable polyester. When combined with PLA at a ratio of 30%, biodegradable thermoplastic elastomers have been proven to increase the impact strength of PLA by more than 400%.

If you think Terratek Flex, the biodegradable elastomer from Green Dot, might be the right material for your product idea, consider setting up a material selection consultation. We can talk about whether the material is right for your application and discuss what qualities are important to you.