Polytetrafluoroethylene, which we thankfully shorten to PTFE, is a very versatile and widely used fluoropolymer. Resisting the effort to drag you too far into the chemical lab, simply understand it consists entirely of carbon and fluorine. Discovered by accident in 1938, it’s also the basis of the Teflon brand of non-stick coatings. Among the products made using PTFE is tubing, due to several of its desirable characteristics. Read on to find out more about these characteristics and, in particular, how lightweight PTFE tubing can be considered for industrial and consumer applications.
Key PTFE Characteristics
Elsewhere on this web site, you will find more detailed descriptions of PTFE tubing and what makes it such a versatile substance from which to make tubing. There are a few items, however, worth mentioning, which will be highlighted here.
PTFE tubing is an excellent insulator, is capable of working in high-temperature environments, and is resistant to all but the harshest chemicals. It allows other substances to easily slide over it, so it’s ideal for moving liquids and gases. Water or water-containing liquids will not wet it.
Extruded PTFE tubing is regularly produced in three thicknesses: standard wall, thin wall, and light wall. There are several criteria used to determine which thickness is chosen. The tubing varies in cost, with the standard wall the more expensive and the light wall the least. PTFE is an extremely strong material. It is often used to carry gas or liquids under pressure, so the flexibility and ability to resist rupturing is critical. It is capable of working in high temperatures so it can be reheated or put in harsh environments. Light wall PTFE tubing could be used in any of the described situations.
Getting the Application Right
With PTFE tubing being used in everything from critical medical instruments to the aerospace industry, it’s hard to find a situation where it would not be under consideration. Like any endeavor, new applications of the tubing must be carefully analyzed. Having a source that is both the manufacturer and distributor provides the best information about a product’s application. Especially if the goal is to evaluate the use of lightweight PTFE tubing for a new application, an experienced guide will be invaluable. At the start of a new or changing use of PFTE, open up lines of communication are critical, so do not hesitate to rely on your manufacturing partner for information and suggestions.