The Applications of Heat Shrink Tubing

Heat Shrink Tubing is a perfect device for the insulation of wires. It is used in electrical work to provide erosion protection for wire connections, conductors, joints and terminals. This tubing was developed by Raychem Corporation in 1962, and has been popularized for many different applications throughout its history. Not only is this tubing used for erosion protection, but also to repair wire insulation or for bunching wires together. If you have a ton of small parts that need guarding from abrasion, you’re going to need to use this kind of tubing. That is why it’s important to understand what it is made of, and what specific applications you will need it for.

So, how exactly does Heat Shrink Tubing function? Well, the tubing is slid onto the wire prior to a connection, and then slid down the wire post connection, onto the joint. With any sort of tight fits, it is best to use a special lubricant that will not harm the heat shrink material, but will allow you to easily fit it into the wire. After all of this, you are going to heat up the tube, which shrinks it to fit the wire. You want your shrinkage to be even, and you don’t want to damage anything, so you’ll want to use safe methods to heat up your tube. Using something like a lighter can absolutely be done, but can be risky. In many cases, the best way to heat up your tube is an oven.

Now that you know how this tubing functions, you are probably curious as to what this tubing is made out of. The answer isn’t simple; there are plenty different kinds of Heat Shrink Tubing. Typically, this tubing is going to be either nylon or polyolefin, both of which shrink significantly when heat is applied. This isn’t to say that all of this kind of tubing is made from these two materials; there are many thermoplastics such as polyvinyl chloride and polytetrafluoroethylene that can be used to make this product.

Some tubes even come with an inner lining that sticks to the wires, creating a tighter seal. These seals can be so tight that the connection is actually waterproof. The different composition of this tubing depends entirely on what it will be used for. It can differ in thinness and thickness as well as chemical makeup, in order to combat any environmental factors. Different temperature operating ranges can dictate the functionality of a tube, and are typically tested by a shrink ratio (how much does the cable shrink after heat application).

But what are the actual applications of shrink tubing? Clearly the tubing has versatility in its composition, so it can be reasoned that the only need for such variety would be a variety of application. The fact of the matter is that this sort of tubing has many different uses in many different industries. Polyolefin tubes are the most common kind of heat shrink tubes, and that’s for good reason. Heat shrink tubes can be used within a wide range of temperature and are used by the military and even aerospace technology. This tubing is so strong that the high quality ones will actually have a 3:1 shrink ratio. Elastomeric tubes are also popular due to their ability to be applied to an even wider range of temperatures. These are perfect for situations that involve any sort of serious environmental issues. Viton is also a popular material for shrink tubes; its flexibility makes it perfect for hydraulic equipment and its operating temperature can be so hot that it can easily defend sensitive devices from high temperatures. One notable application of shrink tubing would also be radio antennas, specifically helical antennas. These antennas are used for CB Radios, popularized in the 1970s. Heat shrink tubes can be found inside of alarm clocks, cars, and computers; its applications, in essence, are nearly endless.

Now that you have a good idea of what Heat Shrink Tubing is actually made of, and how they can be used, you can probably understand their importance to electrical wires and engineering in general. Without them, we would not have the same advancements that we have in a vast amount of technology industries, and we wouldn’t be as advanced as we are today. These cables have enabled wiring to be placed in extreme environments, thanks to the help of treatment from an electron beam that enables the heat shrinking aspect. It’s fantastic what leaps in technology can do, and how they can affect the way that we use electronics and build our machinery. If you work with electrical wires and you know that you can use this sort of tubing in your work, or simply have a home project that you realize will involve it, contact the experts at Electric Wire & Cable Specialists. They have the information that you need to move forward with your project, and also sell Polyolefin tubes, the most popular and versatile kind.

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