Heat Shrink Tubing Tips

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Why should I use colors of heat shrink tubing?

Why Use Colors of Heat Shrink Tubing

Although black is the easiest and least expensive color of heat shrink tubing, it's a good idea to use many colors. There are many colors on the market, including red, yellow, green, white, gray, blue, purple and even clear heat shrink tubing. Color coded wires:

  • Make for a neater layout
  • Create a professional touch
  • Make it easier to troubleshoot

What is heat shrink tubing used for?

Heat Shrink Tubing

Heat shrink tubing is an inexpensive way to insulate, protect and color code wires and cords around the office and home. The tubing has a very diverse function and is used for many industries, including telecommunications, military, automotive and electronics. When purchased, heat shrink tubing is a flexible material that is then wrapped around a wire and shrunk to fit like a second skin. The shrinking occurs when heat is applied to it, either by a special heat-shrinking gun or an ignition torch. Special caution should be taken when applying heat to any wires. Never apply shrink tubing to a cord that has electricity currently moving through it.

What should I know when ordering heat shrink tubing?

Ordering Heat Shrink Tubing

When ordering heat shrink tubing, you should know both the expanded and recovered dimensions.

The expanded dimension is what the tubing measures when it is in its expanded state. The recovered dimension is what the tubing measures when it is heated and recovered on the rod.

Wondering what you should do if you do not have these dimensions? Measure the object you want to use heat shrink on for its outside diameter. Also, know if you want the heat shrink supplied in coils or straight lengths.

What is PVC heat shrink tubing?

About PVC Heat Shrink Tubing

PVC heat shrink tubing is highly flame retardant and resists sunlight, fungus, moisture and most chemicals and oils. It is cheaper than polyolefin heat shrink tubing, which is a highly flexible all-purpose insulation. PVC heat shrink tubing can be used on wire harnesses and wire splices and insulating terminals.

What are some types of Raychem heat shrink tubing?

Raychem Heat Shrink Tubing

Raychem heat shrink tubing offers both thin wall and dual wall options. Thin wall heat shrink tubing is used for insulation, strain relief and protection against mechanical damage and abrasion, while dual wall shrink tubing is used as a corrosion protector and sealant. Here are some product lines offered by Raychem, which can be found at www.raychem.com:

  • Altera: high-performance, medical grade, heat shrinkable, single-wall tubing used for medical purposes, such as surgical instruments, diagnostic equipment, catheter systems, laboratory equipment and sensors.
  • ATUM: adhesive-lined, heat-shrinkable tubing that provides sealing and strain relief.
  • MicroFit: offers small-diameter tubing for fine-gauge wire applications. Compared to other microtubing solutions, MicroFit products provide lower shrink temperatures, better strain relief and enhanced bonding properties.
  • Versafit: cheaper and better looking than tape-wrap, this covers a crimped terminal and provides reliable electrical insulation and strain relief.
  • RW-175: a tough, high temperature, thin wall insulation tubing that is transparent, non-burning, semi-rigid tubing with superior resistance to most industrial fuels, solvents and chemicals.

What are the benefits of thin wall heat shrink tubing?

The Benefits of Thin Wall Heat Shrink Tubing

Why choose thin wall heat shrink tubing? Because thin wall tubing provides superior insulation and protection against mechanical damage and abrasion. The benefits of using thin wall heat shrink tubing include: its dimensions and physical properties are consistent; it meets industry standards and it is UL/CSA recognized. Underwriters Laboratories (UL) and Canadian Standards Association (CSA) are organizations that regulate the industry to make sure products are safe and of high quality.

What is Teflon?

About Teflon Heat Shrink Tubing

Many rave about Teflon's strength and durability. And Teflon heat shrink tubing is indeed tough. But what exactly is Teflon? Teflon is a registered trademark of DuPont and refers to the three fluoropolymer resins PTFE, FEP and PFA, three plastics that share common properties such as lubricity, chemical resistance and high temperature resistance.There are slight differences between the three plastics. Here is a breakdown of the plastics, courtesy of cableorganizer.com:

  • About PTFE: the unique properties of PTFE have made it the polymer of first choice for many advanced applications. With the lowest friction of any polymer and a broad working temperature range, PTFE has been designed into products from advanced medical devices to high temperature industrial equipment. PTFE has become a choice plastic for the chemical and analytical sciences industries.
  • About FEP: While similar to PTFE, FEP has some distinct differences. It has lower continuous service temperature and is more transparent than PTFE. FEP also has better gas and vapor permeability properties and excellent UV transmission ratings.
  • About PFA: PFA was developed to increase the continuous service temperature of FEP resin. Melting process allows PFA to be processed in longer continuous lengths than PTFE. It combines the attributes of PTFE and has a smoother surface texture than FEP and PTFE.
Keep in mind that PTFE heat shrink tubing is the most difficult of the three fluoroplastic materials to shrink. This is because of the extreme shrink temperature. According to www.texloc.com, the most reliable way to shrink PTFE is in a controlled temperature oven. You can use a heat gun or welding torch, but be warned that it is difficult to use such methods because they tend to overheat the material in one area while the rest of the material is too cool to shrink.

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