Thermoplastic rubber (TR) is used extensively
in a number of modern applications, notably in soles for footwear,
but TR quality can be variable and the resulting negative image
makes the marketing of such products difficult for European manufacturers.
The aim of this project was to establish
the required scientific and technological basis for improving operating
standards and criteria in the production of TR-soled footwear. New
characterisation methodologies were developed and new quality criteria
established concerning minimum TR physical performance characteristics
as a function of climatic and friction conditions. Recommendations
on design and moulding processes were also made.
Partners say that improved quality criteria
and specifications for articles manufactured with TR will mean increased
competitivity with respect to other materials. All of the industrial
partners are active in the compounds, soles, moulds or footwear
manufacturing sectors and the project findings have already been
implemented in their daily operations.