Heat Shrink Tubing 101: The Basics Of Selection And Application

If you need to protect a series of wires and keep them together, one of the best ways that you can do this is with heat shrink tubing. There are many different types of heat shrink tubing, and all of them are designed so that you can insert what needs to be bound or protected, then apply heat to shrink that tubing around it, keeping it secure. Before you make any tubing selections, though, there are some things you need to know. Here's a look at the basics of FEP heat shrink tubing applications and their use.

Choose Your Tubing Carefully

The ratio rating on your tubing refers to how much it can shrink. That tells you how much or how little you can put in the tubing and still have it shrink until its secure. For example, a 3:1 tubing ratio can shrink to a third of its current ratio. Remember, too, that it will not only shrink in diameter, but also length. Cut the heat shrink tubing slightly longer than what you need so that, when it does shrink, it fits properly.

Know The Shrink Temperature Rating

The temperature rating of the heat shrink tubing is a crucial factor. It refers to the temperature that the tubing needs to reach for it to shrink properly. Know how much heat you have to apply to the tubing for it to secure properly, and use a heat source that's appropriate to meet that temperature.

Be Aware Of The Potential Risks

Remember that any time you apply heat somewhere, some degree of that heat is going to transfer through the surface. While heat shrink tubing is made to absorb heat in order to do what it's supposed to do, some of the heat is likely to pass through it to the material inside the tubing. Be attentive to this, making sure that you do not damage the contents with any heat transfer.

Use Proper Heat Application Methods To Shrink The Tubing Correctly

Heat shrink tubing requires a careful application of the heat in order to get the right level of shrinkage across the entire tube. If you apply too much heat in one area, or not enough in another, you may end up with either stretched or wrinkled tubing. If the tubing doesn't shrink enough, stretches, or wrinkles, you won't get the protection you should for the contents of the tubing. In addition, the tubing could crack or otherwise suffer damage.