Heat-shrink tubing (also known as heat-shrinkable tubing) comes in a larger overall diameter than required in order to accommodate the wires and cables that need to be placed inside of it. Once the right amount of heat (depending on the material) is applied, the Heat-Shrink will contract to form a tight seal around the inner components. This effective piece of cable management technology has 4 noticeable benefits that it brings to its applications.
4 Heat-Shrink Benefits:
1. Protects Wire & Cable
Heat-shrink is known for its extensive protective properties. These properties help shield wire and cable from abrasion, oil, moving parts, chemicals and a great deal more. Heat-shrink can protect from just about anything if you use the correct type of product.
2. Heat-Shrink acts as a 2nd Layer of Insulation
Heat-shrink is commonly seen as a 2nd layer of insulation because of how it tightly fits over the cables its protecting. When heat-shrink is used for this purpose it’s typically because the application requires tight fit tubing that won’t come loose or deteriorate with age.
3. Heat-Shrink Relieves Strain on Wire & Cable
There are a number of commercial and unique applications that stretch, moderately strain, or tightly squeeze cables into confined spaces. These common issues can significantly shorten a cables' life span, but by applying heat-shrink correctly, electrical personnel can reduce this strain and overall increase the cables' shelf-life.
4. Heat-Shrink Tightly Bundles Cables Together
Many applications require wire and cable to be placed in very close proximity to one another. Being placed in close proximity can make large scale applications messy and difficult. By using heat-shrink to bundle cables together electrical personnel can take advantage of more space-conscious designs, keep cables more organized and make application setup and maintenance more efficient.
Heat-Shrink was originally invented in the late 1950s, by the Ray Chem Corporation. The organizations' chemical engineer (Paul Cook) developed a piece of technology that was able to shrink as heat was applied. Originally they were used in harnesses and in aircrafts, but today there’s a wide range of different uses.
Types of Heat-Shrink Materials:
Although the materials used as heat-shrink come in a wide selection, the most popular type of material is Polyolefin.
Heat-Shrink Polyolefin Breakdown
212°F or 100°C
1. Used as 2nd Layer of Insulation
2. Additional Mechanical Protection
3. Helps with Identification & Organization
Max. Operation Temperature
-55°C to 135°C
70°F to 275°F
The adhesive-lined heat-shrink tubing is a specialty solution. The adhesive-lined tubing is unlike any other cable management product. Once heat is applied the adhesive-lined polyolefin melts to its intended source, ensuring a snug, tight fit. This unique product is also flame retardant, moisture resistant and chemical resistant. This amazing dual-wall heat-shrink is typically used on wire harnesses, over connectors and within automobile applications.
Understanding heat-shrink sizing isn’t nearly as difficult as it sounds. You can breakdown the sizing into 2 different parts:
1. The Expanded Inner Diameter
The I.D will determine the amount of space you have before heat is applied. This sizing will determine the minimum area you’re going to need to be able to fit your wire and cable into.
2. The Shrunk recovered Inner Diameter
The recovered inner diameter is the minimum size the tubing will shrink to. What’s important to note about this piece of information is that as long as your cable is above the maximum shrinkage size, then no matter what you’ll have a tight snug fit.
Questions to ask yourself before Ordering Heat-Shrink
1. What’s the minimum inside diameter you need your non-shrunk heat shrink to be?
- Make sure your cables can fit in the non-shrunk heat-shrink.
2. What shrink ratio do you need?
- This question’s important because it will overall determine how tight your heat-shrink will be. You should keep your application in mind because certain applications excel with different ratios of shrinking. For example, Connectors should typically have a high-shrink ratio, because it makes the overall connection more secure.
3. What is the minimum length required?
- When heat is applied the tubing will lose a small portion of its overall length.
4. What do you need the finished wall thickness to be?
- This is the final important question, because when anything expands it gets thinner and the opposite occurs when things shrink. This last question is typically important if the wall thickness is an essential part of the application.
Heat-shrink as a product is very reliable and if used correctly can help increase the efficiency of an application ten-fold. If you have any additional questions or concerns about heat-shrink tubing, feel free to reach out to our expert sales team. With a wide range of different types of materials and types of construction this diverse product can serve as a general-purpose solution for a wide range of applications.
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