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Engineered Thermoplastic Polyurethane (ETPU): What do You Need to Know About This Material?

Views: 59     Author: Site Editor     Publish Time: 2023-10-25      Origin: Site

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What is Engineered Thermoplastic Polyurethane (ETPU)?

Engineered Thermoplastic Polyurethane, commonly known as ETPU, is a special polymer derived from TPU (Thermoplastic Polyurethane) resin. Developed by the German chemical company BASF in 2007, ETPU utilizes physical foaming technology to create non-crosslinked TPU foam beads. These microscopic beads expand like popcorn, forming tiny closed-cell bubbles within, which is why ETPU is often referred to as "popcorn."

ETPU is a thermoplastic elastomer, meaning it can be shaped when heated and retains its elastic properties at room temperature. Its exceptional characteristics include outstanding durability, elasticity, and multi-functionality.

ETPU shoe sole 3

How is Engineered Thermoplastic Polyurethane Made?

Engineered Thermoplastic Polyurethane (ETPU) is produced through a multi-step process. It starts with the combination of polyols and diisocyanates to form a pre-polymer. Chain extenders are then added, creating a network structure. This mixture is melted and injected into molds, where it solidifies into the desired shape.

What Are the Properties of Engineered Thermoplastic Polyurethane, (ETPU)?

  • Elasticity: The resilience of high-resilience materials can reach up to 63% or more

  • Ultra-light density: Ultra-light density material density range is 100-200kg/m3

  • Low-temperature resistance: Materials with good low-temperature properties still have ultra-high resilience and softness at sub-zero temperatures

    Yellowing resistance (yellowing resistance level up to level 4)

  • High Durability: Highly wear-resistant material with very low wear

  • High bending resistance: the number of bending resistance of finished products is higher than the industry standard

  • High compression resistance: products have higher compression recovery than traditional EVA materials

  • Environmentally friendly materials: Materials are produced using environmentally friendly materials

ETPU shoe sole 1

What Are the Uses of Engineered Thermoplastic Polyurethane, (ETPU)?

1. Traditional pet chew toy materials

ETPU is an excellent choice for traditional pet chew toys. Its durability and resistance to wear and tear make it a long-lasting material that can withstand the vigorous chewing of pets. Unlike some other materials, ETPU doesn't easily break or splinter. Additionally, its flexibility adds an extra element of fun and bounce to the toys, making playtime more enjoyable for pets.

2. EPTU Shoe Sole

In the realm of footwear, ETPU plays a significant role in enhancing shoe soles. The material's outstanding elasticity provides comfort and support for the wearer. ETPU's durability and resistance to abrasion make it ideal for shoe soles that need to withstand daily wear and various terrains.

Since 2000, Huadong sole has collaborated with various European and American brands, expanding our expertise in the manufacturing of thermoplastic shoe soles. Our in-house prilling facility equips us to craft thermoplastic solutions, allowing us to manufacture TPR soles, TPU soles, foam PVC soles, and other types of injected soles.

ETPU shoe sole 2

Thermoplastic Shoe Soles

3. Bicycle seat

Cyclists can benefit from ETPU in the form of comfortable bicycle seats. ETPU's ability to maintain elasticity and cushioning properties is particularly valuable for creating ergonomic and comfortable bike saddles. Long rides become more enjoyable as ETPU seats absorb shocks and vibrations, reducing the strain on the rider. Whether you're a casual cyclist or a professional athlete, ETPU-enhanced bicycle seats can make your rides smoother and more comfortable.

What Are the Benefits of Utilizing Engineered Thermoplastic Polyurethane Soles?

1. In contrast to conventional shoe materials, ETPU "popcorn" is an eco-friendly material known for its exceptional elasticity, low density, impressive wear resistance, and excellent flexural strength.

2. ISOTHANE ETPU material finds its ideal application in sports shoe soles and insoles, as it effectively absorbs ground impact, safeguarding knee joints and heels, resulting in a light and resilient stride.

3. ETPU foam material is available in various sizes and specifications to accommodate intricate shoe designs, representing the latest eco-conscious choice for footwear materials.

What Are the Disadvantages of Using Engineered Thermoplastic Polyurethane?

1. Higher cost: ETPU is more expensive than other sole materials such as rubber or EVA. This can lead to an increase in the overall cost of manufacturing the shoes, making the final product relatively more expensive.

2. Complex processing: The manufacturing and processing of ETPU is relatively complex and requires special processes and equipment. This may increase the production complexity and cost of the sole.

3. Moisture Sensitive: ETPU materials are moisture sensitive and may cause performance degradation when exposed to high humidity for long periods of time. This may require additional moisture protection measures to be considered in the sole design.

4. Limited wear resistance: Although ETPU has excellent resilience, its wear resistance may not be as good as some rubber soles. This can lead to sole wear in shoes that require prolonged use.

Despite some drawbacks, ETPU's excellent resilience, lightweight properties, and wear resistance make it a popular material for soles, especially in athletic, running, and casual shoes.


Q1: Is ETPU environmentally friendly?

Yes, ETPU is considered more environmentally friendly than some other materials due to its durability and the ability to be recycled.

Q2: Can ETPU be used in extreme temperatures?

Yes. The temperature range suitable for ETPU is typically between -40°C to 100°C making it versatile for various applications.

Q3: Where can I find products made from ETPU?

You can find ETPU-based products in industries such as footwear, automotive, sports, medical, construction, and more.

Q4: Is ETPU easily recyclable?

ETPU can be recycled, contributing to sustainability in various industries.


Engineered Thermoplastic Polyurethane (ETPU) has revolutionized various industries with its remarkable properties and wide range of applications. Its durability, versatility, and biocompatibility have made it a sought-after material for many manufacturers. Whether you're in the automotive, medical, or construction industry, ETPU is a material worth considering for your specific needs.

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