ELASTOMER is a material that has "elastic behaviour"; it is therefore a material that deforms when subjected to stress and then returns to its original shape when the stress is removed.
THERMOPLASTIC is a material that becomes soft and viscous (like a fluid) when heated, and then returns solid when cooled to room temperature, being this process reversible.
Thermoplastic elastomers are materials that incorporate the advantages of rubber and the qualities of plastics. We all know that elastomers are fantastic. Cross-linking makes this possible. However, crosslinked polymers cannot be easily recycled because they do not melt. They do not melt because the cross-linking binds all the chains together, preventing the material from flowing. For this reason, with the intention of avoiding the earth to become a giant landfill, they have discovered a new material, the thermoplastic elastomer. The idea behind thermoplastic elastomer is the notion of reversible cross-linking. They include TPE, TPU, TPO, TPS, SBS, SEBS etc.
Typical applications are in the automotive industry, footwear, gaskets, construction, household appliances, consoles, non-slip inserts, knobs, gaskets, profiles, locks, soft-touch armrests, sleeves, bellows, supports, spacers, wheels, splash guards, gaskets for frames, gaskets for pipes, gaskets for vacuum cleaners, power tools, sealing rings, cables, plugs and sockets, cable coatings, switches, housings, garden tools, shock absorbers, "O"-Rings.