Heat shrink tubing: What it is, Applications and Where to find the best ones

With industry-wide applications, heat shrink tubing is recognized as a wonder product for its uses as protection against contamination, serving as a strain relief, helping in detection of circuits through its color-coding, etc.

It is largely produced in a wide array of varieties, types, and sizes with different chemical compositions. With the rising popularity of heat shrink tubing for industrial and commercial uses, the most obvious question that first comes up to mind is:

What exactly is this heat shrink tubing?

Heat shrink or heat shrink tubing is a ‘shrinkable tube’ that is seen to shrink upon exposure to heat. These are used as protection over small parts to ensure minor abrasion resistance. However, this is just one of the many applications (discussed in detail in sections ahead) of heat shrink tubing across different industry verticals.


Two types of heat shrink tubing

Two basic types of heat shrink tubing are - single and dual walls or thin and double walls.

  • Single or thin wall tubing - It is a robust type of heat shrink tubing preferred for its reliability across different applications. It is suitable for usage for electrical insulation, as a protection against abrasion and strain.

  • Double or dual wall tubing - This type of heat shrink tubing is more suitable for protection against corrosion. It also serves as a firm seal and an adhesive layer within the tubing. 

For high-grade quality heat shrink tubing, reach out to a trusted tubing dealer like Terminal Mart.

How is the heat shrink tube produced?

Undergoing a two-step process, the heat shrink tubing is produced keeping in mind their multiple applications across industries.

The manufacturing of heat shrink tubing starts with an extrusion process using a carefully selected material basis its properties to fit the ultimate product-use environment.

Next, this base material is mixed with certain additives. These additives include various colorants, UV stabilizers, etc.

The second step in the production of heat shrink rubbing involves making use of heat and force for expanding the tubing diameter. This is followed by cooling down the tubing to room temperature and again exposing it to heat which shrinks it to the original size.

Now that we have got a brief idea about what heat shrink tubing is and how it is produced, it is logical to move on to certain interesting questions that arise in the minds of anyone interested in knowing heat shrink tubing.

  • When is it best to use heat shrink tubing?

Most typically, heat shrink tubing is widely used for a wide range of applications. These are effectively used in electrical insulation for wires, making connections and terminals, etc.

In addition, heat shrink tubing is also used for bundling up loosely held items like wires. It is often used as a protective covering against abrasion, cutting, and scuffing. Similarly, they are used as cable entry seals for effective protection from the surrounding environment. Get more information on these, right here: https://www.terminalmart.com/heatshrinktubing

Therefore, when situations demand protection against moisture, chemicals, dust, and other finer particulates, heat shrink tubing is the best fit. 

  • How does heat shrink tubing work?

Before the piece of heat shrink tubing is exposed to heat, it is fitted into a wire for making the connection. After the connection is made, the tubing is placed on the area which requires protection. In certain cases, a silicone lubricant is also used for perfect fitting. Next, the tubing is exposed to the desired level of heating for it to shrink. Depending on the shrink-ratio, it shrinks down to its original diameter.

  • Does heat shrink tubing stretch?

If you choose the right type of tool, smaller heat shrink tubing can be easily stretched with the help of needle-nose pliers. In most cases, a good-quality heat shrink tubing can expand to more than double the size. In fact, stretched or expanded heat shrink tubing shrinks much quicker (also it uses lesser heat) as compared to the tubing that has not been stretched.

  • Does heat shrink tubing have a shelf life?

The polyolefin material which is most commonly used in the production of heat shrink tubing has a shrink temperature of about 90°C. If the tubing is composed of other materials such as FEP, silicon rubber, PVDF, PTFE, etc., it is noted that they have a higher resistance as high as 250°C.

Likewise, heat shrink tubing is often associated with a high yielding shelf life that ranges anywhere from 30 days to 25 years. Depending on the type of materials used, the shelf life is determined. The AMS-DTL-23053 standard followed by heat shrink tubing ensures that the shelf life goes up to 50% of the original life.

  • Is heat shrink tubing waterproof?

The answer is YES! A good quality heat shrink tubing is highly waterproof which helps it in protection against moisture and other corrosive liquids.

  • Is heat shrink tubing flexible?

As the name suggests, heat shrink tubing is typically a plastic tube that shrinks permanently on heat exposure. The extent of shrinking depends on the shrink ratio. The heat shrink tubing that we get in the market is the expanded version upon heat exposure. Upon heating, this large-sized, expanded tubing returns to its original state.

Different sleeves of varying thickness are characterized by different degrees of flexibility. A more rigid sleeve is a good of the heat-shrink tubing

We have found the perfect match for your needs!

The 1.5” (length-wise) heavy wall heat shrink tubing by Terminal Mart comes with a sealant. The composition of a rigid heavy wall polyolefin characterized by a shrink ratio of 3:1 is perfect for multiple applications mentioned in the article. 

It is highly flame retardant and meets the MIL-Spec 23053/15 Class 1 requirements. In addition, it is also UL Listed 486 D standard and CSA certified for direct burial applications. Moreover, the company also offers heavy wall heat shrink tubing in different sizes and color options.

Looking for superior quality, certified heat shrink tubing? - Terminal Mart is the place to be!

Finding a reliable, trustworthy, and industry expert dealer for high-grade heat shrink tubing can be a tedious and tiring process. But not anymore! Terminal Mart is a market leader in supplying unmatched, innovative products at competitive rates. 

With a 4 day processing time to ship, the company also offers speedy expedited shipping (within the next day or 2nd day) by air. 

In case of any queries or doubts, feel free to email the company representatives at [email protected] 

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