Tougher materials for the modern phone case

Discover how shock absorbing thermoplastic elastomers (TPEs) are helping designers, product managers and engineers boost impact protection

Protective cases are the smartphone accessory of choice. Consumers have relied on cases to enhance aesthetic flair, add better grip, and keep phone exteriors looking like new. In recent years, one trend has emerged above the rest: impact protection.

Why is Impact Protection Important? 

As the price of new smartphones continues to rise, consumers have become increasingly concerned with protecting their devices. Choosing cases that will save phones from cracked screens is a top priority for those hoping to avoid costly repairs and the time they take. In turn, designing head-turning cases that also protect against impact is vital for competitive brands that want to boost revenues and capture market share.

What Materials Have Traditionally Been Used for Impact Protection? 

Brands have used materials such as TPU, silicone, and vibration damping TPEs in phone cases. Vibration damping technology (VDT) has been especially popular due to its ability to transfer kinetic energy into heat energy upon impact. 

What is the Latest Trend in Impact Protection?  

Developed from existing vibration damping technology, new shock absorbing TPEs are designed to boost impact protection in phone cases. This new material fills the interior of the phone case to absorb shock, and because it also has good abrasion resistance, can be used on the exterior as a gripping surface. Shock absorbing TPEs are an effective alternative to TPU, silicone, and existing vibration damping TPE technology.

How Do Shock Absorbing TPEs Benefit Phone Case Brands?  

They enable designers, product managers and engineers to:

  • Tell a new story for phone case design
  • Claim higher drop protection 
  • Improve abrasion resistance 
  • Design thinner cases with no performance tradeoff 

Are Shock Absorbing TPEs the Next Level of Vibration Damping Technology? 

Performance testing reveals shock absorbing TPEs outperform vibration damping TPEs in shock absorption and abrasion resistance in phone case applications. Performance testing data reveals shock absorbing TPEs achieve a 15% reduction in peak G-Forces and 43% improved abrasion resistance.














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