Heat Shrink Tubing

Electrical wire and cable is often employed in locations that are not considered "ideal," frequently requiring insulation, protection, sealing or identification.Over the years, many methods and products have been developed to meet imperfect conditions. One such product is heat shrink tubing.

Because heat shrink tubing and sleeving are constructed with premium compounds under tight manufacturing conditions, they have superb attributes. Commonly requested types include ST 221, ST 321, ST 421, and ST 105. All types of the tubing and sleeving have gained overwhelming applause. The products have been used in several industries for various applications.

Heat shrink tubing and sleeving products provide an easy, economical way to insulate, organize, protect and identify electrical wire and cable components. When heated, the tubing forms a tight mechanical bond over wire and cable products. The tubing thus conforms to wires and other electronically conductive elements.

Heat shrink tubing has been extruded, non-cross-linked and cross-linked. It has been mechanically expanded, but when reheated will return to its original diameter. The tubing is constructed of special thermoplastic materials such as Polyolefin. When applied with heat, the adhesive material inside of the tube is activated. The material then secures the tubing to the wire or cable. The result is a single unified product.

If you need an out of the ordinary insulation, the unique tubing is a good option to consider. Heat shrink tubing protects electrical wires and cables from abrasion, corrosion and harmful elements, such as water and oil. Installation of the tubing is fast and painless and the final result looks great. Heat shrink tubing presents a pleasing appearance when used alone or on equipment. The tubing is also extremely resilient. Unlike electrical tape, heat shrink tubing will not come off with age.

Heat shrink tubing is easy to use. During installation, the tubing is placed over the wire or connection and then is heated by a specified outside source. If the material being heated contains numerous monomers, the monomers will join together and form polymers. When this occurs, the density of the material increases and space opens up. As a result, the volume of the material lessens. This process causes the tubing to shrink down to a maximum of one sixth of its original size.

Heat shrink tubing products possess a unique characteristic, a shrinkage ratio. According to Alpha Wire, a shrinkage ratio refers to the relation between the tubing's expanded diameter and recovered diameter. It is common for the tubing's part number to identify the shrink ratio. For example, ST 321 has a "3 to 1" shrink ratio.

When looking to purchase heat shrink tubing, performance specifications you should keep in mind, in addition to shrink ratio, include the maximum diameter and temperature range. For heat shrink tubing, the maximum diameter is the diameter of the bundle of electrical wires and cables. The temperature range is the full-required range of operating temperature.

As an important note concerning heat shrink tubing, the Underwriters Laboratories and the Canadian Standards Association no longer require a surface printing requirement for the tubing.