3-Part Workshop: Thermoplastic Elastomers - From Fundamental Insights to Contemporary Technologies: Stimuli-Responsive and Functional TPEs


Thermoplastic Elastomers - From Fundamental Insights to Contemporary Technologies: Stimuli-Responsive and Functional TPEs

  Begins May 28

Next Lesson: Session 1 


Thermoplastic elastomers (TPEs) constitute an important class of self-networking polymers that spontaneously generate a soft nanostructure and a molecular network. Of particular interest here are TPEs derived from styrenic ABA triblock copolymers since these are the most abundant TPEs of commercial relevance and they serve as excellent model materials to illustrate physical and chemical variations.

This workshop first aims to establish a fundamental background regarding structure-property relationships in TPEs. Using a complementary combination of computational and experimental analyses, we shall identify the key criteria governing both nanostructural and network development in neat TPEs varying in molecular architecture and composition. State-of-the-art analytical techniques such as electron tomography and 13 C NMR will be introduced for TPE characterization.

The next objective is to discern the effects of either physical or chemical modification of TPEs. In the first case, TPE gels (TPEGs) will be considered as a valuable alternative to silicone elastomers as composition-tunable soft and stretchy, but fully recyclable, materials. This class of materials relies on the incorporation of a B-selective oil that can reduce the elastic modulus and cyclic strain hysteresis while simultaneously improving strain at break and fracture toughness.

After examining the fundamental aspects of these nanostructure- and network-forming materials, we shall explore their use in a wide range of applications, emphasizing their suitability as electroelastomers for technologies requiring a response to electrical stimulation. Chemical modification of TPEs yields tailorable rubber-toughening and compatibilization agents. More impressively, making TPEs amphiphilic through selective sulfonation yields a new generation of charged materials that provide versatile functionality for use in diverse domains ranging from the environment (as carbon-capture membranes) to energy (as solar cells, electroactive media and bipolar electrolyzer membranes) and to healthcare (as intrinsic broad-spectrum antimicrobial surfaces). Each of these application areas will be discussed in detail to afford a picture of how TPEs can be used as the building blocks to generate new and multifunctional materials suitable for advanced (and needed) technologies.



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May 20, 2024
Duration: 2 Hours

May 21, 2024
Duration: 2 Hours

May 22, 2024
Duration: 2 Hours

  Registration Information

SPE Premium Member $540
SPE Members $600
Nonmembers $800

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Not an SPE member? Join today and attend this workshop at a discounted rate!

3 Sessions
Level: Beginner to Advanced
Total Hours: 6 Hours
Streaming access on desktop and mobile browsers
Recordings available after the sessions


Richard Spontak
North Carolina State University

Dr. Richard J. Spontak, Distinguished Professor at North Carolina State University, has over 40 years of experience concerning thermoplastic elastomers (TPEs). During the past 25 years, he has explored new and exciting applications of TPEs as stimuli-responsive and functional soft materials ranging from electroactive and shape-memory media to carbon-capture membranes and antimicrobial surfaces. He received his B.S. and Ph.D. in chemical engineering from Penn State and UC Berkeley, respectively, and he pursued post-doctoral studies at Cambridge University (UK) and the Institute for Energy Technology (Norway) before joining the Procter & Gamble Company and later North Carolina State University. He has published over 300 peer-reviewed journal publications and presented nearly 400 invited presentations worldwide. He has received numerous awards in recognition of his research: the SPE International Award, the ACS (Rubber) Chemistry of Thermoplastic Elastomers Award, the ACS (PMSE) Roy W. Tess Award in Coatings, the Society of Polymer Science, Japan, International Award, and the Institute of Materials, Minerals, and Mining (IOM3) Colwyn Medal. He is a fellow of the American Physical Society, the IOM3, the Royal Society of Chemistry, and the ACS PMSE Division, as well as a member of the Norwegian Academy of Technological Sciences.

  Questions? Contact:

For questions, contact Iván D. López.