Quick Start Guide to Heat Shrink Technology & Its Applications

Heat shrink tubing (also known as a heat shrink or) is a shrinkable plastic tube that is used for insulating wires, thereby providing environmental protection and abrasion resistance for stranded and solid wire conductors, terminals, connections and joints in electrical work.

The heat shrink kit, used around the world for multiple applications, was originally developed in the late 1950s by Paul Cook. It was manufactured using radiation chemistry. The heat shrink tube developed by Raychem is now used as the basic building block by different manufacturers worldwide.

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Heat Shrink Technology – Compositional Analysis

Different prescribed ranges of thermoplastics can be used for manufacturing a heat shrink tube. These include polyvinyl chloride, polyolefin, Neoprene, Kynar, Viton (generally used for purposes involving high temperature in corrosive environments) and fluorinated ethylene propylene.

Other adhesive lining tubes used for making cables and connectors are used for creating powerful seals that are water resistant in nature. For providing a conducting connection between different objects without soldering them, a conductive polymer thick film is added to the heat shrink tube.

Science Behind Heat Shrink Tube
In general, the majority of plastics don’t shrink when introduced to heat; however, a heat shrink tube does. The nature of a heat shrink tube can be attributed to its cross-linking process; then polymer, when subjected to a radiation, generates covalent bonds to facilitate the process.

It has been used heavily ever since the World War II and different analyses carried out in this regard have revealed that a plastic memory is induced to the covalent bond by the cross-linking of the polymer, thereby making sure that it can be stretched to the required shape. However, please note that the tube will restore its original shape on the application of the desired heat.

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The extent of which a tube can shrink

Different heat shrink tubes have different shrink ratio – the shrink ratio is measured as the shrunken size of a tube to its original size. For example, a tube having 2:1 shrink ratio can have an expanded diameter that is twice the size of the tube in its shrunken state.

Applications of Heat Shrink Tube
Heat shrink tubing is used in numerous activities for both protection purposes as well as aesthetic enhancements.

Various other uses include:
Identification – Color coding is used for easy identification
To harness multiple wires
Longevity – For manufacturing long-lasting, durable labels which are used in networking patch cords
Sealing – For stopping water and dust from entering splices
Insulation – Against excessive heat in military vehicles, boats, and aircraft
Barrier – It serves as a barrier between cables and various corrosive materials

An Insight Into Versatile Fluoropolymers In Everyday Life

While majority of people have heard of fluoropolymers at some point in their lives there are some people who might not have heard of it. But there is one commonly used fluoropolymer we have all heard of and it is  known as Teflon.

Teflon is a very versatile polymer and is used in variety of products like cookware, teflon wire and more. These products are later used in various industries such as automotives, electronics & communications and national security. Several notable benefits of using these fluoropolymers in the business are discussed in the following points:

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  • Protect Firefighters: They are used to make fire-proof fabrics and water resistant fabrics to resist water and abrasion as they move ahead to provide insulation against flames.
  • Safe Flights: While other insulation types continue to be a fire hazard in airplanes still, the fluoropolymers fill in the gaps and provide the right amount of insulation required for a safe flight.  
  • Safety Gears: All the factory workers across the globe wear a safety gear in order to protect themselves. These gears come with a fluoropolymer coating, PTFE to be precise. It keeps them protected from various hazards including stuff like acid or alkaline solutions.
  • Safety At Work: All workplaces are prone to fire hazards with usual insulation materials in play. But, these threats can be eliminated using the fluoropolymer coating as they protect the wires. Such wires are used in phones, electronics and computers to keep the employees safe was they operate them. The home wiring is also protected by the material of same configuration.

Therefore, fluoropolymers play a major role in our day to day lives without us being aware about it. They serve as the best protective coatings under all conditions and can be a great deal of safety under varying working conditions. Application of these do require a great deal of knowledge and expertise, so you must deal with a firm with the right qualifications and proven track record.

Parts That Are Included In Heat Shrink Kit

Heat shrink tubing is a multipurpose tube which is made up of thermoplastic material that is used both for the protection and for enhancement purposes.
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There are a number of features that you need to consider while choosing a heat shrink tubing gun. Some of the features are temperature control, airflow control, ease of use, distribution of weight etc. The guns can even be used for forming, paint stripping, drying, welding, soldering and more.

Heat shrink tubing is used in many industrial and commercial applications and that is the reason many people keep heat shrink kit at their homes or workplaces

There are many parts included in the kit. Two of them are mentioned below.

  • Heat shrink tubing gun– This is the most important tool in the kit. The heat shrink tubing gun is used for increasing the temperature of the tubing, so that it can shrink easily and fit perfectly on wires. There are a number of different types of guns available, so you can choose the most appropriate one according to your requirements.
  • Tubing– Tubing is another part that is included in the kit. It decreases in size when heat is applied so that it can fit perfectly on wires. Therefore, it is used to cover different types of cables, which protects the cables and wires form certain factors such as chemicals, dust, water, abrasion, shock, and different weather conditions. Moreover, it also improves the appearance of application by clearing the entire mess of the cables.

    Apart from this, nozzles are also included in some of the kits. The nozzles are used to control the temperature ranges. In addition, a wire cutter is another important tool that you may require, which can be used for multiple electrical applications.

    When you buy a heat shrink kit, check if the contents of the kit are all there and that you have received the whole kit that you paid for. If any part is missing let the retailer know at once and demand either a refund or a replacement.

What should be included in your heat gun shrink tubing kit?

A heat shrink gear is included in many people’s tool bag. It is essential for those who occasionally work with heat shrink tubing whether at work place or at home. These are one of the most popular products for electrical use as this tubing can be used for various purposes. You can use it to protect devices or to support electrical connections. It is essential for proper wire insulation.

668EEF85-13F6-4861-8A76-BED97FA5787CHowever, it is advised to keep an inclusive kit if you regularly work with the electronic applications that require heat shrink wire or tubing. Following are the components that should be included in your heat gun shrink tubing kit

Heat gun – First thing you need is a heat gun in this kit. This gun is used to apply hot air to tubing, so that it can shrink and fit properly. It provides great insulation while protecting the electrical connection. There are various types of these guns with different features. It is advised to choose one that has different nozzles for the purpose of controlled temperature ranges. It makes work easier for you.

However, you must check the temperature range on gun before purchasing. You must choose the product that suits your business or project requirements.

Deflector – While using heat shrink gun, you also need deflector to avoid further complications. This is the reason why it should be included in your kit. It can shield other components from the unnecessary heat produced by the gun. It also makes the work easier by shrinking faster as it directs more hot air on the place where you need it.

Wire cutter – While working with these tubing, you need a wire cutter too. It should be included in your tool box.

Different sizes of tubing – This is another component that you need in your kit. Different size of tubing in your tool box ensures that you have the right product for any application whenever needed.

Many companies provide inclusive kits complete with all essential products. You can include this kit in your tool bag.