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Silicone VS TPE Which is better for sex dolls?

This article will tell you the advantages and disadvantages of silicone vs TPE.

In the sex doll industry, silicone and TPE are the two most common materials at present. Many people may not know the characteristics and differences between silicone vs TPE.

silicone vs tpe

The difference between silicone VS TPE

1. The difference between silicone vs TPE in feel

Silicone generally feels a little harder, but TPE will be very soft. Of course, silicone can also be made quite soft, but the cost will increase a lot.

So at present, it can be pinched, but it will be harder than TPE.

2. the difference between silicone vs TPE in texture

The performance of silicone is better than TPE because the material is slightly harder, silicone will be better; some artificial handprints and details can only be expressed by silicone, but TPE does not well.

3. the difference between silicone vs TPE in tensile strength

According to different formulas, silicone can be stretched 3 to 5 times. The TPE can be stretched 6 to 8 times. So TPE has the better pulling force and more extreme moves.

4. the weight difference between silicone vs TPE

The same volume of silicone will be heavier than TPE. The specific weight depends on the manufacturer’s craftsmanship and liner level.

5. the difference in aging between silicone vs TPE

Silicone is resistant to high temperature, low temperature, acid, and alkali, except for highly corrosive items, silicone can hardly react with any substance. TPE is not resistant to high temperatures and anti-aging is not as good as silicone products.

6. the difference in odor between silicone vs TPE

Silicone has absolutely no odor, TPE will more or less smell of gum or added fragrance. If it smells very fragrant, it is recommended not to start, because there are cases of reaction to fragrance allergy.

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7. The difference in composition between silicone vs TPE

7.1 Silicone is divided into inorganic silicon and organic silicone compound.

Inorganic silicone is a highly active adsorption material, which is usually prepared by reacting sodium silicate with sulfuric acid and undergoing a series of post-treatment processes such as aging and acid foaming.

Silicone is an amorphous substance, and its chemical formula is mSiO2. nH2O. It is insoluble in water and any solvents, non-toxic, tasteless, chemically stable, and does not react with any substances except strong alkalis and hydrofluoric acid.

Organic silicone is an organosilicon compound, which refers to a compound that contains Si-C bonds and at least one organic group is directly connected to the silicon atom.

It is customary to use oxygen, sulfur, nitrogen, etc. to make the organic group and silicon Compounds with connected atoms are also regarded as organosilicon compounds.

Silicones are mainly divided into three categories: silicone rubber, silicone resin, and silicone oil.

7.2 There are many types of TPE, usually based on styrene elastomer modification

The usual TPE refers to the blended modified material TPES based on styrene-based thermoplastic elastomer SBC.

In fact, there are many types of TPE (including TPES, TPV, TPU, TPEE, TPO, etc.). The TPE mentioned in this article mainly refers to the TPES elastomer based on SBC modification.

8. The difference in appearance between silicone vs TPE

8.1 The chemical formula of inorganic silica gel is xSio2·yH2O. Transparent or milky white granular or bead-like solid.

There are many different types of silicone, including silicone oil, silicone rubber, and silicone resin. Therefore, the appearance is diverse, with liquid, solid lumps, or granules.

8.2 TPE is a compound material and has no fixed composition. But the appearance is generally transparent or white particles.

9. Difference in performance between silicone vs TPE

9.1 Heat resistance

TPE is usually heat resistant to 80~100℃, and silica gel is usually resistant to high temperatures of 100~150℃.

9.2 Resilience, permanent deformation

TPE has a physical cross-linked structure. No matter how good the physical properties are, TPE has a certain permanent deformation.

Silicone is usually cross-linked by adding a coupling agent. Both solid silicone and liquid silicone are chemically cross-linked and have good resistance to permanent deformation. In other words, silicone has more elasticity and resistance to deformation than TPE.

9.3 Food grade characteristics

For food-grade materials, different countries and regions have different specific test methods. But the current basic understanding is as follows:

The composition of silicone is relatively single, and most silica gels have passed the residual test of oily solvents (such as olive oil, n-hexane, etc.), and comply with the US food grade standard value FDA 21CFR 177.2600 and the German food contact material standard LFGB.

TPE is a compounding system with diversified components. TPE base resin and softening oil may contain residual organic small molecules, which are easy to dissolve in oily liquids.

At present, except for a few specific material formulations that can comply with 21CFR 177.2600 and LFGB, most TPEs, especially low-hardness TPEs, fail to pass the two food-grade tests.

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10. Molding equipment between silicone vs TPE

10.1 Silicone is thermosetting. Most of the liquid silicone LSR can be molded by a hydraulic press, and some liquid silicone LSR can be molded by an injection molding machine.
10.2 TPE is thermoplastic, and most of them are molded by an injection molding machine or extruded by the extruder.

11. Scrap and scrap recycling between silicone vs TPE

11.1 TPE scraps can be 100% recycled.
11.2 Waste silica gel is difficult to recycle.

12. Overmolding between silicone vs TPE

12.1 TPE and most hard plastics such as PP, ABS, PC, PS, PE, SAN, etc. can be well over-molded and bonded together without the use of glue.

12.2 The over-molding of silica gel and hard plastic is usually pre-applied with glue and then injection-molded and bonded. However, it is said that there are currently modified silica gels in foreign countries, which can be directly coated and bonded without applying glue first.

13. Cost comparison between silicone vs TPE

13.1 The price of low-end solid silica gel is equivalent to that of low-end TPE, about 20,000 yuan/ton or less
13.2 The price of mid-to-high-end (liquid) silicone rubber is close to that of high-end TPE, about 30,000 to 50,000 yuan/ton.

However, most applications of TPE are in the low-end market, while mid-to-high-end silicone accounts for the mainstream of the market. Therefore, in general, the price of TPE is still cheaper than that of silicone. If production efficiency and material reuse are considered, the advantages of TPE will be more obvious.

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What are the advantages and disadvantages of Silicone VS TPE?

Advantages of Silicone

Silicone is widely used in many fields such as daily necessities, sex toys, medical equipment, electronic industry, etc. due to its soft touch, good elasticity, non-toxicity, and safety. However, no matter how good the material is, it cannot withstand the human being’s fault and the pursuit of perfection.

Disadvantages of Silicone

  1. The price is not cheap. At present, the price of good quality silica gel on the market is generally not less than 30,000 yuan per ton, and some are even higher.
  2. Long molding cycle. Silicone needs to be cross-linked (or vulcanized). Except for a few injection-molded silicones, the molding and processing time of most silicone raw materials needs to be measured in minutes, which virtually reduces production capacity.
  3. Cannot be recycled. Since silicone products are all vulcanized and molded. The scraps, waste, and waste silicone products cannot be recycled, which also increases material costs invisibly, which is not conducive to environmental protection and sustainable development.

Advantages of TPE

TPE and silicone have many similar properties, such as soft-touch, rubber resilience, non-toxic and environmentally friendly, and so on. Compared with silica gel, TPE has the following advantages:

  1. TPE soft rubber can be quickly formed by injection molding or extrusion process, without the need for molding and vulcanization like silicone.
  2. TPE leftovers, scraps, and waste products can be almost 100% recycled and reused.
  3. The cost is relatively low. As above, the general cost of silica gel is more than 30,000 yuan per ton, and most TPE prices are below 30,000, or even 20,000 yuan per ton.

Disadvantages of TPE

Although TPE has the above advantages, as a thermoplastic material, TPE also has its inferiority or inferiority to silicone.

  1. Not as elastic as silica gel. Silicone is a vulcanized system, and its elastic deformation can be 100% restored after the external force is removed; while the elastic deformation of TPE exceeds a certain external force or tensile elongation, its elastic recovery often cannot be restored.
  2. The hand feel is slightly inferior. Silicone is soft and smooth to the touch. Although TPE has the same outstanding soft touch, it is more difficult to obtain a smooth effect comparable to that of silicone. Although the TPE formulation can be adjusted to improve the smoothness of the TPE, it is often Increase the cost of TPE as a price.
  3. Environmental protection is slightly inferior. Although TPE basically meets all environmental testing requirements. However, when doing food-grade tests (US FDA 21CFR 177. 2600 and German LFGB), the TPE test failed, while the silica gel was completely in line with the test.

How to distinguish silicone VS TPE

  • Silicone: ignite, burn into a bright flame, produce white smoke, and the residue is a white powder.
  • TPE: ignite, the flame is yellow or yellow with green at the bottom, producing light or thick black smoke.

Which is more suitable for sex dolls, Silicone vs TPE?

Both have their own advantages, but TPE is less expensive than silicone material in terms of processing performance, recyclability, and cost price. With the increasing number of types and applications of TPE, TPE is the preferred material instead of silicone!

In terms of material safety, silicone is environmentally friendly, non-toxic, and odorless. The most important thing about TPE is that it cannot be reused, while TPE can be recycled.

From the point of view of the characteristics of the material, silicone has strong abrasion resistance and high-temperature resistance, while TPE material has better flexibility, but it is easy to deform and has permanent deformation.

Physical dolls have very high requirements on wear resistance and deformability, so silicone materials are more suitable for dolls.

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