All You Should Know about Bonding FEP Tubing

October 20, 2019 by  
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FEP (fluorinated ethylene propylene) tubing is one of the most versatile materials companies around the world use for numerous projects. FEP tubes have unique physical properties that make the product an excellent choice for projects with special parameters. This includes projects where materials will be exposed to extreme temperatures, tension, or chemicals. Here are some interesting facts about FEP tubing you’ll want to keep in mind for future projects.

Affordability

FEP tubing is thought of as the original fluoropolymer. The material was first developed as a melt processable fluoropolymer alternative to PTFE. Due to this origin, FEP tubing shares similar chemical and dielectric properties with PTFE tubing. Still, the material has a few unique properties. For example, FEP tubing is excellent for projects with special parameters, such as when a material will be exposed to extreme temperatures, tension, or chemicals, and is excellent at transmitting UV rays.

FEP tubing is also nonflammable, has nonstick properties, and is resistant to UV radiation. Furthermore, FEP tubing has a somewhat higher amount of friction, a lower continuous service temperature, is clearer, and has better gas and vapor absorbency than PTFE tubing. These unique properties makes FEP tubing one of the most advanced and affordable types of tubing on the market.

Usability

FEP tubing, being extruded, is best used for projects that involve cabling and electrical insulation, particularly foamed coaxial cables. This is because the material gives off much less heat and a lower dielectric constant during insulation than other types of tubing. This helps FEP tubing handle electrical breakdowns easier. Plus, FEP tubing maintains a moderately high temperature that’s ideal for electrical projects.

Another popular use for FEP tubing is great for transporting dangerous and often explosive chemicals without splices, observing the flow of fluids. The best extruded FEP tubing is used in appliances we use daily, such as air conditioners, heaters, hair dryers, and so on. For this reason, shrink-wrapped FEP tubing manufacturers make the material in several lengths and diameters. And while clear is the most popular color of FEP tubing, you can get tubes in several different colors.

Function

Since FEP tubing can be purchased in clear and a variety of colors, you can easily organize and identify each tube you use for a project. This works well for complex cable arrangements in data centers and elsewhere where you need to keep specific cables in the appropriate position or order. FEP tubing, when extruded, can be made into covers and sensors for many instruments and measuring devices, including thermocouples, probes, thermometers, and RTDs. These covers and sensors protect these devices from being harmed in corrosive environments.   

Because of the material’s chemical resistance, FEP tubing is ideal for transferring fluids and can easily be formed into special shapes. These special shapes can be made into products such as dip tubes, which fit ends of tubes, providing a secure way to transport corrosive fluids. Fluid transfer is an important application in automotive, aerospace, scientific, analytical, and medical industries. All FEP tubing is made by virgin resins and complies with all FDA regulations.

Tef-Cap Industries Inc. can tell you more about FEP tubing. Visit us online, or call our corporate center in West Chester, PA, at 610-692-2576.  

 

Choosing the Right PTFE Filler for Your Applications

October 10, 2019 by  
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PTFE, or polytetrafluoroethylene, tubing is used in various industrial applications. Sometimes, PTFE tubing manufacturers can add fillers that enhance certain properties. The type of filler you need depends on how you will apply the tubing. Here are some common fillers and the applications they can be used for.

Glass

Glass is the most common type of filler for PTFE tubing. This type of filler is typically made from the E-glass fiber type. Glass fillers are ideal for hydraulic piston rings because they provide superb wear resistance, low creep, and excellent compression strength. The high compressive strength of glass fillers protects the tubing from becoming deformed over time. Glass fibers are made from either powder or fiber. Glass fiber delivers better creep resistance, and glass powder is available at affordable prices.

Carbon

Carbon fillers add multiple benefits to PTFE tubing. This includes increased compression strength, wear resistance, hardness, and thermal conductivity (which improves heat distribution), as well as reduced absorbency. Also, adding graphite improves the wear and friction properties of carbon. Because carbon is extremely inert, the chemical has only a slight impact on the filler’s chemical resistance.

Graphite

Graphite is a stable crystalline form of high purity carbon. The element occurs naturally in many rocks. You would normally use graphite in pencils and as moderators in nuclear reactors. Graphite has a flaky structure and offers excellent dry lubrication, increased load bearing strength, and decreased wear to PTFE tubing fillers. Graphite is usually combined with other fillers, particularly glass and carbon.

Molybdenum Disulfide

Molybdenum Disulfide (MoS2), is a silvery black compound made from molybdenum and sulfur. MoS2 is usually combined with glass or bronze. When added to HPTE tubing fillers, MoS2 lowers friction, decreases stick-slip properties, enhances wear resistance and stiffness, and adds deformation resistance. This element is somewhat inert, and the only way you can dissolve MoS2 is with oxidizing acids.

Bronze

Bronze, an alloy of copper, provides great wear resistance and thermal conductivity to FTPE tubing fillers. Fillers made with bronze are more abrasive than other compounds, but you can fix this by adding MoS2 (molybdenum disulfide) or graphite. Applications involving bearing and piston rings generally use PTFE tubing fillers with a ratio of 55% bronze to 5% MoS2.  To make this type of filler, manufacturers add bronze by weight, typically from 40-60%.

Ekonol

Ekonol is a type of polyester. This composite material is aromatic and is known for being thermally stable. Along with dimensional stability and high strength, ekonol fillers provide high temperature, wear, and corrosion resistance to PTFE tubing. Ekonol is used in rotary applications because the material won’t erode compatible metal surfaces. Ekonol fillers are used in applications involving packing sets, compressor ring sets, seal sets (“O” rings, spring-loaded, lip, etc.), self-lubricating bearings, and rotor or vane style process pumps.

Polyimide

Polyimide is another type of polymer filler that offers superb wear and abrasion resistance. This type of filler has one of the lowest friction properties. This property allows polyimide to operate amazingly in dry applications, reducing maintenance costs of applications. PTFE tubing with polyimide fillers won’t erode compatible metal surfaces, including soft ones like brass, stainless steel, aluminum, and plastic. These properties, along with high purity and low outgassing, make polyimide ideal for use in vacuum, space, and semiconductor industries.

You can find out more about choosing the right filler for PTFE tubing by visiting Tef-Cap Industries Inc.’s website.

The Beneficial Features of PTFE Tubes

September 30, 2019 by  
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Polytetrafluoroethylene tubing, or PTFE, has been around since the 1960s, and in that time, it has come to be a commonly used option in a wide variety of tubing applications. It’s excellent insulative properties make it ideal for use in applications where electricity is involved. The flexibility and durability of PTFE tubing make it a popular choice in the aerospace and automotive industries, where it’s durable and resilient under rigorous use. Its sterile and inert qualities make it a wise choice of those in the medical, pharmaceutical, and food and beverage industries.

The beneficial features of tubing produced by a high-quality PTFE tubing manufacturer are many, which is why its uses span the modern industrial, medical, and manufacturing landscape. While many understand a few key features of this tubing type, there are many lesser-known advantages to PTFE tubing that are important to note. Keep reading to learn more.

Water Resistant

Like many fluoropolymers, PTFE is a hydrophobic substance. That means instead of absorbing water, it repels it. That not only means that it’s largely impermeable, but it also won’t leach its components into materials that are contained in the tubing, since it’s not soluble when in the presence of water.

Chemical Resistant

One of the greatest strengths of PTFE tubing is that it’s insoluble not only in the presence of water, the universal solvent, but when exposed to many more caustic and corrosive liquids as well. It’s highly resistant to a variety of chemicals such as alcohols, acids, solvents, esters, and biological fluids and won’t break down in their presence. Despite its incredible ability to tolerate chemicals, there are a few compounds such as chlorine trifluoride, molten alkalis, and gaseous fluorine that can cause PTFE to degrade and break down.

Electrical Properties

PTFE is widespread in electrical applications because of its multitude of beneficial electrical properties. It has a great dielectric constant and a high electrical breakdown voltage rating. It also has a beneficial surface resistivity level. That makes it perfect for use in insulating wires and electrical components. 

Impressive Thermal Qualities

Many plastics are highly susceptible to the influence of temperatures and their beneficial properties may degrade if the temperature fluctuates. PTFE isn’t among those substances, however, as it can retain its advantageous qualities regardless of the temperature better than many other fluoropolymers. It can tolerate temperatures from -200 degrees C to 260 degrees C without any change in flexibility, stability, or electrical resistance.

Low Coefficient of Friction

Coefficient of friction is a value that describes the ease with which a material allows liquid and substances to slide past its surfaces. In other words, the more favorable the coefficient of friction of a material, the more easily fluids and substances flow over or through it. PTFE has an extremely low coefficient of friction, which means that any liquid or substance traveling over or through a PTFE surface will flow smoothly and consistently. Not only is that important in applications where a consistent rate of flow is necessary, but it can also prevent the formation of deposits over long periods that can lead to blockage or sources of contamination. Low coefficient of friction is also beneficial in electrical applications, such as in the automotive or aerospace industries where vibration leads to tubing abrasion. Such abrasion can lead to damaged wire insulation or compromised tubing, and in the automotive and aerospace fields, such factors can negatively impact user safety.

There’s a good reason that PTFE tubing is found in many facets of modern life, as its benefits are many and its usage in industry is widespread. To learn more about the beneficial features of PTFE tubing, contact Tef-Cap Industries at (610) 692-2576.

Where PTFE Tubing Is Used: What You May Not Know

July 12, 2019 by  
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What You May Not Know
PTFE stands for Polytetrafluoroethylene, a synthetic fluoropolymer that has numerous applications in several industries. Tef-Cap Industries, Inc. has been manufacturing shrinkable PTFE tubing since 1986. PTFE tubing has many benefits, including superior thermal and electrical qualities, fantastic UV resistance, and the lowest coefficient of friction of any other kind of polymer. PTFE tubing was invented over 70 years ago and is still used today for numerous applications.

Being resistant to temperatures ranging from -170-260 degrees Celsius (-275-500 degrees Fahrenheit), PTFE tubing is used in 3D printing to transfer thermoplastic filaments to a nozzle’s melt zone. Filaments flow easily through the extremely slippery and smooth surface of the tubing. In chemical processing, PTFE tubes often replace carbon and metal piping because they can transfer highly acidic and corrosive chemicals used in many labs. Tef-Cap, Inc. has become a leader in the custom creation of Teflon PTFE tubing that is chemical resistant and excellent at handling fluids, because they have been in business for over fifty years.

PTFE tubing can be used as arterial and vascular grafts during surgery, catheters and sutures, and for cosmetic or reconstructive facial surgery. Automotive industries use PTFE tubing as fuel evaporation lines, fuel rails and jumpers, and protective cases for accelerators, brakes, and clutch cables. In the electrical industry, PTFE tubing is the best kind of tubing for wiring harnesses and architectural applications. Fiber optics can stay strong and flexible while being stored in this type of tubing.

Tef-Cap, Inc. PTFE tubing in custom sizes and ratios that meet certain standards. This company also uses several secondary processes during manufacturing, including sealing, cuffing, flaring, cutting, slitting, etching, thermosetting, and stripping. This guarantees you will get the right style of PTFE tubing for your needs.

If you are interested in shopping for more from Tef-Cap, Inc., visit https://tefcap.com.

A Complete Guide to Using Teflon Tubing

July 5, 2019 by  
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Resist Heat and Corrosion

When you use Teflon PTFE tubing, you use tubing that resists more than just heat. It’s known for having a rather high resistance to corrosion. Think of it as a protective shield for your cables, acting as the wall that keeps both the heat and the corrosion on the outside. You want neither of those to intrude on and potentially damage your cables, as you don’t have time to deal with heat-damaged cables or corroded ones. Find PTFE Teflon tubing manufacturers who can help you.

Extra Benefits

When it comes to PTFE tubing, Teflon tubing does more than protect your cables from corrosion and unwanted heat. It also protects the cables inside from water damage while preventing things from becoming overly sticky. This is one of the best options for environments where moisture and cables are in close quarters with one another. If corrosion wasn’t enough, this kind of tubing has high resistance to chemicals. Stop harmful chemicals dead in their tracks with the best Teflon PTFE tubing.

Split Tubing

There are multiple kinds of Teflon PTFE Tubing. For starters, split tubing has specialized walls. Because of this advantageous property, the tubing itself can be split longitudinally. Generally, this kind of tubing is used within the medical world. It can make things easier for medical practitioners since they don’t have to dislocate a primary device in some medical applications. It just helps them when something needs to be removed from a patient.

Heat Shrink Tubing

This might be the kind of tubing that you want to use to repair or keep your cables intact. Using heat shrink tubing is rather easy since all you really need to do is add heat to it. Then, it will shrink around whatever is inside the tubing itself. When it comes to using this kind of tubing for manufacturing, it’s good for manufacturing both glass and wires. In addition, it can also be used for insulation purposes.

Filled

One of the more unique kinds of tubing is filled tubing. This kind actually comes with radioactive properties. This is because it has various chemicals added to it, which causes the tubing to acquire a few extra properties. Similar to split tubing, filled tubing also has medical applications. When it’s inside the body, X-ray photographs will make it visible, allowing doctors to easily locate anything with the tubing covering it.

Cutting the Tubing

When the time comes to actually cut the Teflon tubing, you can normally rely on four different options. You might not actually need a specialized cutting device. You could just use a pair of shears or a razor blade. These two options are recommended mainly for home use. However, if you want the cut to be more precise, consider getting some tubing cutters. If you need the best cut possible, work with a company that has access to tube cutting lasers, which are proven to be highly effective.

Your Next Application

Teflon PTFE tubing might be the answer to your next application. Whether you’re working in the medical field or you have a manufacturing project, this tubing might be the best product for your upcoming project. Whether you need to use heat shrink tubing or filled tubing, you should be able to locate exactly what you need from a trusted seller. When in doubt, ask them what they might recommend.

Using PTFE in Aviation and Aerospace Industry: An Overview

June 13, 2019 by  
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Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) is an incredibly versatile fluoroplastic that has become invaluable in several industries but has been particularly vital in the aviation and aerospace industries. While available in one form or another — the most famous brand name of a PTFE product is Teflon — since the 1930s, this synthetic fluoropolymer of tetrafluoroethylene has several remarkable properties, which is why it plays such an important role in the success of both the aviation and aerospace industries.

Unique Characteristics

Both aerospace and aviation rely on materials that are light, durable, and versatile. For several reasons, PTFE is the only material to succeed so brilliantly at meeting the demands of these advanced systems of transportation that no other product will do. For instance, PTFE is hydrophobic, meaning it’s resistant to water. Combined with the fact that it’s also extremely heat resistant, it’s an ideal substance for fuel cables and cable insulation in the form of heat shrink PTFE tubing. Due to the fact that PTFE has one of the lowest coefficients of friction of any solid, it’s ideal for protecting parts of vehicles where aluminum and other metal sections are liable to rub against each other. In this manner, it serves a dual purpose of both decreasing friction and limiting vibration, which is why it’s such an effective material in places such as in the leading edges of airplane wings.

Improved Safety

Modern aircraft simply could not function without all that PTFE has to offer. Like the rest of the airplane, it’s a lightweight material, allowing aircraft to fly more efficiently. The aerospace sector operates with the highest safety standards imaginable. PTFE serves an important role in allowing aerospace engineers to design ever more sophisticated machines knowing that they’ll have the materials available to them that will meet the extremely high Aerospace Material Standard.

Dielectric Properties

The excellent dielectrics properties of PTFE — especially at high radio frequencies — makes it perfectly suited for insulation in cables and connector assemblies. Clear heat shrink PTFE tubing has a far higher melting point than the polyethylene more commonly used in applications that don’t have to withstand the rigor associated with the aviation and aerospace industries. It’s also a common product used in computers and circuit boards both within and without these industries who still rely on computers for their operations.

PTFE Film

Commonly utilized in the production of fiberglass composites — as well as carbon fiber composites — PTFE film acts as a barrier between fiberglass or carbon parts as they’re being built. This makes it possible to manufacture products without non-production materials adhering to the parts as they’re being constructed. Such purity in the manufacturing process is of particular importance as it relates to the aerospace industry where impurities can be especially damaging.

Whether it’s due to its resistance to heat, its dielectric properties, or its low friction coefficient, PTFE has become one of the most relied upon materials throughout the aviation and aerospace industries. With over 50 years of experience in manufacturing PTFE, Tef – Cap Industries Inc. knows all about this remarkable material and its many applications. If you have any questions, or if you want to see how PTFE can benefit your business, call Tef – Cap Industries Inc. today!

Thin Wall PTFE Tubing: Different Applications Explained

April 22, 2019 by  
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Tube

The demand for PTFE tubing is growing, mainly because it is so versatile that it can be used in almost every industry imaginable. From medical devices to electrical wiring tubing to piping, the list of applications for thick and thin wall PTFE tubing is impressive and expanding! Here is why and how it is used.

Reasons Why PTFE Tubing Is So Popular

Heat Resistant: Some PTFE tubing can withstand regular exposure to plus 500 degrees Fahrenheit temperatures. Almost all PTFE tubing thin wall is highly resistant to heat. This makes it ideal for applications where exposure to hot liquids is routine. Additionally, its resistance is not countered by it becoming brittle when not exposed to heat, which means maintenance costs in high heat applications is minimal. The heat range it can be exposed to is approximate -450 degrees to 500 degrees Fahrenheit, making it easily the most diverse tubing in regard to temperature on the market. That diversity makes it popular across applications and industries.

Corrosion Resistant: A thin wall PTFE tube is mostly inert when exposed to other chemicals. This means that there are almost no adverse reactions when exposed to a wide variety of harsh chemicals and acids. Additionally, it is impermeable, which means it is water and air tight, even in areas that are subjected to high heat or harsh substances. These two factors in regard to durability and resiliency make it ideal for the transport of chemicals. It also adds to the safety quotient of anything it is transporting as the only way it will leak is if it is physically punctured as opposed to being eaten or worn away by a corrosive element.

Extremely Low Friction Coefficient: Light wall PTFE tubing has a very low friction coefficient (0.1,) which makes it ideal for applications where friction can be dangerous or painful. Two examples are catheters and snares. The low friction ratio makes using both much easier than with a substance with a higher friction coefficient. In fact, smooth bore thin wall PTFE tubing has the lowest friction coefficient of any known solid materials.

Tubing

Applications

PTFE tubing comes in three main categories:

  • Pressure Hose
  • Spaghetti Tubing
  • Pipe Liner

Its wall thickness and tube diameter determine the type.

Within each category, PTFE is further classified:

Split: This consists of a ridge that permits splitting longitudinally. It is used by medical personnel internationally to extract PTFE introducers from patient bodies without dislocating the primary device.

Heat Shrunk: Tubing of this sort is very thin, and it decreases or shrinks when exposed to hot air. This allows for air and watertight fit. It makes it ideal for securing small and thin components like wire.

Filled: With this application, the tubing is infused with chemical additives that give off radioactive properties. That makes it visible in X-rays and where anti-static properties are required.

Multi-Lumen: Tubing applications of this type have a number of smaller tubes in a single interior. Each layer contains a unique fluid or wire. These types of applications are common in the medical industry.

In many ways, PTFE tubing has reinvented certain types of manufacturing. It is used in the science and medicine fields, medical device industry, with electrical wire producers and automobile manufacturers. Best of all, it seems new applications are being discovered all the time. For more information on PTFE tubing and whether it is right for your manufacturing needs, check out Tef-Cap.

4 Unique Uses for Heat Shrink Tubing

April 20, 2019 by  
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Frayed electrical wires

PTFE tubing is used to solve a wide variety of industrial repair problems, but you can also use it in your home or office to fix everyday problems like frayed wires and worn shoelaces. Keep reading to learn more.

Frayed and Frazzled

In the era of cellular technology, humanity would be doomed if not for the power cable. If you’re like most people, your devices and cables endure a lot of daily abuse. Some cables, unfortunately, become chew toys for furry friends and toddlers. The adapter head that plugs into your device receives the most wear and tear from everyday handling. The problem usually stems from cheap materials and poor quality controls at the manufacturing level. Frayed power cables can quickly become health hazards, exposing you to electric shock. Fix a frayed or exposed charging cable with shrink tubing to prevent accidental shock and fire hazards.

Get a Grip

Do you like to play sports like tennis, golf, or baseball? Do you want to improve your game without spending more money on new equipment or equipment repair? Heat shrink can help you get a better grip on your tennis racquet, clubs, bats, and other hardware. Non-slip heat shrink is specially designed to help you get a better handle on pipes and cables, but you can apply this same technology to your sporting equipment and improve your game at the same time. Repairing your favorite racquet or bat can be expensive and time-consuming. Get back in the game fast with a quick treatment of heat and a non-slip shrink tube.

Tennis racquet handle

All Tied Up

Whether you use them for hiking, jogging, work, or around the house, you have time and energy invested in breaking in your favorite pair of shoes. With proper care, they could last for several years. However, those little plastic caps on the end of your shoelaces just don’t seem to last as long as they used to. Instead of going to the store, buying more shoelaces, and then weaving them onto your favorite pair of shoes, use heat shrink wrap to fix your current laces quickly. Heat shrink wrap is available in a plethora of sizes, even some a thin as a shoelace. Remove the old plastic wrap or cut the lace just below the area. Thread the lace through the shrink tube and apply gentle heat until it shrinks to the desired size.

Silence Is Golden

Does your key ring make enough noise to wake up the whole house? Does your dog’s collar chime every time he walks across the room? Small, metallic objects have the potential to disrupt the peace in your home, but heat shrink wrap can put a damper on those annoying sounds. Cut a piece of clear tubing large enough to fit over the head of your key or dog tag. Be careful not to cover the cut portions of the key. Apply heat and use a hole punch to rethread the key or ID tag.

These are just a few creative ways to use heat shrink PFTE tubing around your home and solve everyday problems. For more idea on how to use heat wrap contact the experts at Tef-Cap.

Reasons Why Medical Device Manufacturers Should Choose PTFE Tubing

April 18, 2019 by  
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Medical device tubes

One constant in the highly competitive medical device manufacturing industry is the quest to produce improved devices with better and better performance ratios. This challenge has created several sub-challenges, one of which was to figure out how to join metal and plastic and have them work in unison. One small way they have achieved their goals in this regard is to mainstream the use of standard wall PTFE tubing in medical devices where tubing is needed. There are many reasons for this.

The Industry Environment

The medical device industry is one of the most competitive in existence. As an industry, there are many manufacturers competing for the same customers, and that means gaining a slight competitive edge can be the difference between cornering the market and showing up a little late.

In addition, there are strict regulations that are part of the governing regimen of the federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Manufacturers also have to be concerned with the invasiveness of their equipment and their ability to provide their intended service in an environment where a malfunction can literally kill a patient. Their devices have to work, and work correctly every time, which means superior quality is a principal goal.

What PTFE Is

Industrial wall PTFE tubing helps meet all that criterion. PTFE, a fluoropolymer, has been used for decades and is a chemical product that has a high number of fluorocarbons. The closest everyday substance that it resembles is Teflon.

Non-Stick

As with Teflon, the non-stick qualities of wall PTFE tubing make it ideal for a medical device. Non-stick surfaces make the transfer of fluids almost seamless and helps avoid clogging, ensuring a medical device remains functional, even during high use. The same concept that lets you cook on a non-stick pan surface without having food left behind is the same principle that makes PTFE tubing ideal.

Oxygen tubes

No Chemical Reactions

Another benefit is that it is inert with most chemicals. This means there are no adverse reactions that could harm the device or the patient or interfere with the performance of the machine. Not having to take that into account speeds up the manufacturing process and reduces the chances that a piece of equipment will become an issue when treating a patient.

Low Friction

Even thin wall PTFE tubing possesses the lowest friction ratio of any polymer, which means it can be used in high-stress situations with no degradation in quality. In fact, light wall PTFE tubing can function in high-use temperature ranges approaching and exceeding 500 degrees Fahrenheit.

Miscellaneous Benefits

All PTFE tubing possesses excellent electrical properties. It is also highly resistant to UV radiation and can withstand constant use while displaying very little weathering. As an aside, these two realities are also why PTFE tubing is a choice of electrical wiring and automobile manufacturers.

In the quest to create better medical devices, engineers are always on the lookout for even the smallest gains. A simple benefit can yield great dividends as it pertains to getting a product to market and making it the industry choice. If you are looking for materials to create superior medical devices, check out Tef-Cap.

PTFE Heat Shrinkage Tubing: Where It Began

April 10, 2019 by  
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Colorful Heat Shrink Tubes

Heat shrinkage tubing is the process of decreasing the size of plastic tubes that are used to insulate cables and wires. This will allow you to better insulate the wires or provide resistance to potential abrasion. While you may be interested in using heat shrinking tubing for your wire or cable insulation, you may also wonder how this process came about and how it works. Here is some more information on the history and process of heat shrinkable PTFE tubing.

Invention of Heat Shrink

The process of heat shrink tubing was pioneered in the 1950s by the Raychem Corporation and its founder, Paul Cook. A chemical engineer, Cook founded his company with a focus on radiation chemistry, which is how the name of the company came about. Cook invented two products that would be the primary focus of his company: lightweight aircraft cables and heat-shrinkable tubing. While the Raychem Corporation was the pioneer of this process, it has since become widely used by a variety of companies within the industry.

Uses of Heat Shrinkable Tubes

Heat shrinkable tubes are typically used for two purposes: protection, and the cosmetic changes of cables and wires. This process can protect cables and wires by sealing water or dust out and away from the cables, protecting the cable or wiring from extreme heat, and providing a barrier between cable or wires and any chemicals that could corrode them. From a cosmetic point of view, you can create a color code for identification purposes, gather wires together, or improve the appearance of the wires.

Making Heat Shrinking Tubes

There are a variety of thermoplastics that heat shrinking tubes can be made out of including polyolefin, polyvinyl chloride (PVC), polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE), and fluorinated ethylene propylene (FEP). If conductivity is an issue, a conductive polymer thick film can also be used to connect multiple conductive objects through tubing without the need to solder them. If the need arises, you may be able to add an adhesive lining that will make the tubing waterproof.

Why the Tubing is Shrinkable

Plastic tubing itself will not shrink when exposed to heat, so a process called cross-linking was created to complete the process. Cross-linking occurs when the plastic is exposed to a certain amount of radiation. After World War II, it was discovered that exposing plastics to radiation would allow you to intentionally alter the molecular structure without them melting. A process called covalent bonding between the atoms of the polymer allowed it to experience plastic memory. This means that when the plastic is cross-linked and expanded in shape, it will instinctively return to its original size when exposed to a specific amount of heat.

Using Purple Heat Shrink Tube

How Much Shrinkage?

You may want to heat shrink your tubing, but only a certain amount. So how do you know how much it will shrink? All heat shrinking tubing is provided with a shrink ratio that will tell you how much it can potentially shrink. The ratio is decided based on how small it will become compared to its original size. For example, if your heat shrink ratio is 5:1, the tubing is capable of shrinking up to one-fifth of its expanded size.

Heat shrink tubing allows you the ability to protect your cables and wires or make cosmetic changes. Once the primary product of an innovative company, heat shrinkable PTFE tubing has become an industry standard.

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