An Introduction to Heat Shrink Tubing

eiodotcom —  August 25, 2012 — 1 Comment

Today’s Eio post is on heat shrink tubing for cables and wires.

Heat shrink tubing is a specially made type of plastic tubing whose diameter shrinks when heated. It is most commonly used in electrical applications in order to extend the life of cables, wires, or other electrical connections by protecting, insulating, or repairing them. In particular, it is used to repair the insulation on wires or to bundle them together. This protects the wires from cuts or abrasions.

Types of Material Used for the Tubing

The material used in heat shrink is often made of nylon or polyolefin. The exact composition of each type of tubing depends on what it is used for and the intended application, so the varieties and chemical makeups vary. In terms of rigidity and density, these also vary depending on the application. There are variations of near microscopically thin wall tubing, to rigid and heavy-wall tubing.

How Do You Shrink the Tubing?

Wisegeek says this:

Depending on the exact type of material used, there are two main ways that heat shrink tubing can work. Tubing can be specially treated during the manufacturing process to shrink when heated. This type of tubing is said to be expansion-based. When it is manufactured, it is heated to near its melting point and stretched to expand its diameter. It is then rapidly cooled in order to help it keep its shape. When heated later in consumer use, the tubing will shrink back down to the size it was before it was stretched in the first place.

VELLEMAN K/STB HEAT-SHRINKABLE TUBE KIT – 40pcs- BLACK

  • contains:
    • Ø0.04″ x 4.72″: 10 pcs
    • Ø0.08″ x 4.72″: 10 pcs
    • Ø0.16″ x 4.72″: 5 pcs
    • Ø0.24″ x 4.72″: 5 pcs
    • Ø0.35″ x 4.72″: 5 pcs
    • Ø0.47″ x 4.72″: 5 pcs
  • halogen and dioxine free
  • flame retardant
  • colour: black
  • shrinking temperature: 194°F
  • max. temperature: 248°F
  • shrinking ratio: 2:1
  • dielectric strength: 15kV/mm

Heat-shrinkable tubing is universally applied for the insulation of connections or for the end-handling of electric wire, for the insulation of soldered points on resistors and capacitors, for the identification and encapsulation of electric wire, for the corrosion-proofing of metallic rods or tubes and for the protection of antennas. Heat-shrinkable tubes are used for the corrosion-proof and waterproof connection of fibre optic cable.

VELLEMAN K/STMC2 HEAT-SHRINKABLE TUBE KIT – MULTICOLOUR 3 15/16″ – 170 pcs – IN STORAGE BOX

  • contains:
    • Ø1/32″ x 3 15/16″: 60 pcs
    • Ø5/64″ x 3 15/16″: 40 pcs
    • Ø1/8″ x 3 15/16″: 30 pcs
    • Ø11/64″ x 3 15/16″: 20 pcs
    • Ø15/64″ x 3 15/16″: 10 pcs
    • Ø23/64″ x 3 15/16″: 10 pcs
  • halogen and dioxine free
  • flame retardant
  • color: mixed
  • shrinking temperature: 194°F
  • max. temperature: 248°F
  • shrinking ratio: 2:1
  • dielectric strength: at 1 min. 2500VAC – no breakdown

Heat-shrinkable tubing is universally applied for the insulation of connections or for the end-handling of electric wire, for the insulation of soldered points on resistors and capacitors, for the identification and encapsulation of electric wire, for the corrosion-proofing of metallic rods or tubes and for the protection of antennas. Heat-shrinkable tubes are used for the corrosion-proof and waterproof connection of fibre optic cable.

Belden 8660 14.3AWG TUBULAR BRD 250′ SPOOL

  • Type: Tubular Braid
  • Color: Silver
  • Length: 250 ft
  • Material: Copper
  • Inside Diameter: 3.18 mm
  • Type: Tubing & Sleeving

See also:

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  1. An Introduction to Speaker Wires « EIO - August 30, 2012

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