It is important to select the right type of FEP shrink tubing to match your own requirements and applications. This kind of tubing is available with different shrink ratios, which influence the recovered size once it has been shrunk. You will find it is available with a 1.6 to 1 heat shrink ratio and a 1.3 to 1 heat shrink ratio in a variety of sizes. For example, a piece of tubing in AWG size 10 with a 1.3 to 1 ratio has a minimum expanded inner diameter of 0.141 inches and a recovered inner diameter of 0.112 inches, with a recovered wall of 0.010 +/- 0.002 inches. Tubing typically comes standard in 4 foot sections, but may be ordered in custom lengths.
In order to correctly cause FEP tubing to shrink, you need to apply the right amount of temperature using an approved heat gun. The minimum shrink temperature is approximately 400 to 420 degrees Fahrenheit. Most heat guns on the market today are able to achieve this level, as well as higher temperatures, in case you also work with PTFE shrink tubing. Just remember to apply the heat evenly for the best results, by slowing moving the gun back and forth over the section where the tubing is being applied.
You are able to remove shrink tubing in the event you make a mistake or the tubing does not fully shrink as desired. You can use a sharp box cutter or razor blade and carefully make an incision through the tubing. However, do not apply too much pressure, or you might end up cutting through the wire or cable underneath the tubing.
When working with FEP shrink tubing, you need to remember that the tubing can expand as it shrinks. For this reason, you want to make sure you cut the FEP tubing to the correct length. Leaving a slight overlap on both ends where the tubing is going to be applied does not have to be excessive. For instance, if you are repairing a three inch section with the tubing, you might only need to use a three inch section of FEP tubing, because it may provide sufficient overlapping once it is shrunk and expands in length. Prior to applying the shrink tubing on a large scale, it is worth your time to experiment to determine the best size to use, and make adjustments to fit your requirements and specifications.
Pharmaceutical and Laboratory Applications Use FEP Shrink Tubing
FEP shrink tubing is used for a variety of pharmaceutical and laboratory processes and applications. Just like PTFE shrink tubing, FEP is chemically inert and provides high lubricity. However FEP has a much lower shrinkage temperature, so it is better suited for situations and applications where mid-range temperatures are in use. Further, FEP tubing is able to be autoclaved, using gas or steam processes, when required. FEP tubing is available in a variety of diameter sizes and is offered in standard four foot sections. However, for businesses that do not want to have to cut their tubing to frequently used lengths, they may take advantage of our secondary finishing processes to order the desired quantities of tubing already custom cut to the desired lengths.
FEP shrink tubing is offered in standard four foot lengths. Prior to using the tubing, you need to cut it to the desired length for the area to which it is going to be applied. Before cutting the tubing, you should measure the location to determine the exact size required. For instance, you may be using the tubing to make a repair to the protective coating on an electric wire. If the area where the coating is cracked or missing is four inches, you would want to cut your FEP tubing to a length of six inches. By cutting the tubing slightly larger, it will create overlap at each end of the damaged location on the wire and help to ensure the wire is properly resealed. In situations where you use a specific length of tubing on a regular basis, you might want to consider ordering large quantities already custom cut to your desired sizes.
FEP Shrink Tubing Is Suited for Most Types of Applications and Environments
You can use FEP shrink tubing for a variety of applications and purposes in locations where extreme heat is not an issue. You are able to use this tubing just like other kinds of heat shrink tubing for wire splicing, electrical insulation, moisture and corrosion protection and bundling of wires and cables. FEP has a shrinkage temperature around 420 degrees Fahrenheit, plus or minus 20 degrees. This makes FEP tubing suited for environments where temperatures do not exceed 400 degrees Fahrenheit. In cases where temperatures exceed this amount, you will want to use PTFE heat shrink tubing, instead, because it has a much higher shrinkage temperature.
FEP shrink tubing is offered in either 1.3 to 1 or 1.6 to 1 shrink ratios. The shrink ratio has to do with the amount the tubing will shrink whenever heat is applied based upon the starting pre-shrunk diameter. For example, a one inch starting diameter on a piece of 1.6 to 1 shrink tubing ends up with a recovered inner diameter of about 0.60 inches after shrinkage, with a variance of 0.025 plus or minus 0.005 inches.
Diameters Determine the Amount of Shrinkage Experienced with FEP Shrink Tubing
There are few things which can constrict and control the amount of shrinkage achieved when using FEP shrink tubing. First and foremost is the diameter of the wire or cable you are using as a mandrel. If the diameter is larger than the recovered inner diameter of the shrink tubing, it will not fully shrink down, and may also impact the wall thickness. On the other hand if the diameter of the wire or cable is smaller than the recovery rate, the tubing does fully shrink but will not be fully tight and secure.
Working with FEP shrink tubing is similar to using PTFE shrink tubing. The only difference is the amount of heat required to actually shrink the tubing around the cable or wiring. FEP has a lower shrinkage temperate than PTFE. This makes it suitable for use in applications where higher shrinkage temperatures may damage surrounding parts and components.
You Often Have to Cut FEP Shrink Tubing to Size before Using It
When you want to use FEP shrink tubing you will need to cut it down to size. This type of tubing often comes in four foot sections and most applications do not require a size this big. You should measure the area where you intend on using the tubing to obtain the size you require. You need to include extra length on both sides of the location in order to have a bit of an overlap. For example, if you are fixing an exposed wire, you want to make sure the shrink tubing is long enough to cover the exposed section and fully re-seal it.
FEP shrink tubing provides many of the similar benefits of PTFE heat shrink tubing. FEP offers corrosion resistance, electrical and moisture insulation, flexibility, optical clarity, and lubricity just like PTFE. The primary difference between these two types of shrink tubing is the shrink temperatures. FEP has a much lower shrink temperature so it is better suited for applications which cannot withstand the higher shrink temperatures required with PTFE.
Use Diameter Measurements to Help Select FEP Shrink Tubing
When selecting FEP shrink tubing you need to determine the proper size to order. One way to figure this out is to measure the diameter of the material where you are placing the shrink tubing. For example, if it is used to secure a bundle of wires, you need to consider the combined diameters of each wire in the bundle. This measurement lets you know the size of tubing required, but it will be the shrunken state. So you should use the recovered inner diameter measurement provided as part of the details for each size of tubing and work backwards to select the correct size.
You can save money on making certain types of repairs to equipment by using FEP shrink tubing. This type of tubing can be used to fix problems where protective PVC coatings have worn off of wiring and cabling. It is important to cover up the exposed areas as there can be risks associated with operating a device without the proper protective coating. The tubing creates a new barrier around the exposed areas, while providing high lubricity, insulation, optical clarity, corrosion resistance, and flexibility.
You Can Get Both Standard Lengths and Custom Cut Lengths with FEP Shrink Tubing
FEP shrink tubing is available in standard four foot lengths, as well as custom cut lengths. Four foot lengths are ideal when you do not know the exact length you will require for your repairs. Custom cut lengths are suited for production purposes in cases where the tubing is being applied as part of manufacturing processes.