Choosing the Right Path: TPE vs. Silicone Biopharmaceutical Tubing

In the dynamic landscape of biopharmaceutical manufacturing, selecting the right materials can be pivotal to success. When it comes to biopharmaceutical tubing, two contenders often take the spotlight: thermoplastic elastomer (TPE) and silicone. But which one should you choose, and when? In this article, we’ll explore the key differences between TPE and Silicone biopharmaceutical tubing and guide you on when to use each.

The TPE Advantage

1. Flexibility and Adaptability

TPE tubing offers exceptional flexibility, making it a top choice for applications where tight bends and maneuverability are required. It seamlessly integrates into complex bioprocessing systems, reducing the need for extensive customization.

2. Biocompatibility

TPE tubing is formulated to meet strict biocompatibility requirements, ensuring that it does not introduce contaminants or affect the quality of biopharmaceutical products. It’s an excellent option for handling sensitive biologics and pharmaceuticals.

3. Cost-Efficiency

TPE tubing is often more cost-effective than Silicone, both in terms of material and production costs. This affordability makes it an attractive choice for companies looking to optimize their manufacturing processes.

4. Single-Use Systems

TPE tubing is a natural fit for single-use systems, eliminating the need for extensive cleaning and validation processes. Single-use systems with TPE tubing can significantly reduce operational costs and increase efficiency.

The Silicone Advantage

1. High Temperature Resistance

Silicone tubing can withstand a wide range of temperatures, making it suitable for applications where extreme heat or cold is a concern. It maintains its integrity and flexibility in challenging temperature conditions.

2. Inertness

Silicone is known for its high chemical inertness. It is less likely to interact with the substances it transports, making it a reliable choice for applications involving aggressive chemicals or solvents.

3. Longevity

Silicone tubing tends to have a longer lifespan than TPE tubing. It is resistant to wear and degradation, making it suitable for applications where durability is a primary consideration.

4. Biocompatibility

While TPE is biocompatible, silicone is also considered biocompatible and is often used for medical and pharmaceutical applications, especially in situations where temperature extremes are involved.

When to Use TPE vs. Silicone

TPE: Choose TPE tubing when flexibility, adaptability, and cost-efficiency are paramount. It’s an excellent choice for single-use systems, handling sensitive biologics, and scenarios where bending and maneuverability are crucial.

Silicone: Opt for silicone tubing when you need high-temperature resistance, chemical inertness, longevity, and biocompatibility. It excels in applications involving extreme temperatures and harsh chemicals.


The choice between TPE and silicone biopharmaceutical tubing should be guided by the specific requirements of your application. Both materials offer unique advantages, and understanding when to use each is essential for optimizing your biopharmaceutical manufacturing processes. In this ever-evolving industry, the right tubing material can make all the difference in product quality, efficiency, and cost-effectiveness. So, when at the crossroads of TPE and silicone, take the time to consider your specific needs and make an informed choice that will propel your biopharmaceutical endeavors forward.

Learn more about Biopharmaceutical Tubing from Kent Elastomer Products.