Heat shrink tubing comes in different materials. It is normally made of nylon or polyolefin and sometimes it is also made of PFTE. The ones made of PFTE are more resilient and tough whereas another variety called the Viton heat shrink tubes can withstand extreme temperatures and are impervious to a series of chemicals.
One has to choose the right type that will suit your application the best. Several factors such as environmental hazards, voltage, temperature ratings and other application needs have to be considered while making your choice of the tubing. In addition, a few other considerations that will ensure you get the right type of tubing are:
• Sleeve diameter of the tubing: The diameter in the original form should be big enough to cover any sort of irregular surface and at the same time should shrink to a final diameter that will fit snugly around the application. The shrink ratio becomes important here.
• Shrink ratio: The shrink ratio determines the final diameter of the tubing. It varies from as high as 6:1 to as low as 2:1. Tubing which have high shrinkage ratios act as weather-proof sealants for huge cable bundles. Depending upon the application requirements, the tubing has to be wisely chosen.
• Rigidity and wall thickness: Thick walled and stiff tubing is necessary for applications which require high levels of strain relief and toughness. Less rigid and thin walled tubing is good enough for other applications.
The shrink temperature is different for different materials and therefore this factor has to be kept in mind while applying the heat for shrinking. Normally, a heat gun is used while heating the tubing as that has a better control over the air flow and temperature. Sometimes, butane torches are also used.
For some applications, adhesive lined tubing is used. As the name suggests, the insides of adhesive lined tubing are coated with a thin glue layer. The glue melts when heat is applied for contracting the heat shrink tubing and this helps to generate an even and a sturdier bond between the tubing and the cable around which it is wrapped. This bond is further strengthened after the glue dries up making it almost impossible to be broken. At the same time, the tubing remains as flexible as the heat shrink tubes without the adhesive.
Heat shrink products play a significant role in maintenance and protection of electric cables. They undergo several testing procedures before they are released for use. There are several dealers and manufacturers offering these products and choosing a reputable dealer is of paramount importance.
There can be no compromise on quality as otherwise the security of your application can be affected. So, don’t go just by the price when you make your choice of the heat shrink tubing; consider the factors mentioned above and you will have the perfect heat shrink tubes that fulfil all your needs.
In some other projects, the heat shrink sleeve proves most appropriate. This is so especially in case of industrial situations where the pipes are continuously exposed to extreme heat and corrosion. The sleeve acts as a protective cover and ensures the longevity of the pipes.