PTFE Extruded Tubing
If you hear the name PTFE extruded tubing, you may think that it is just another form of plastic tubing. If we were to tell you that Teflon® was a commercial name for PTFE, you might have a better comprehension of what a special plastic tubing this item really is. In this article, we will go over the special properties that this tubing has, as well as alert you to the many applications it can be used for that have made it the popular product it is today.
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A Little History
PTFE extruded tubing or Teflon tubing, has only been around for the last couple of decades. It started out as a high temperature niche product that was usable only in a small market of applications, but has since taken the industrial world by storm. The more commonplace forms of this material, sheets, coatings and formed components have seen some growth over the years, but nothing compared to what the PTFE tubing has seen.
A large part of its value has come from its creation technique. Because the resin that is the base of Teflon is easily bruised and sheared during handling, it must be processed very carefully during manufacturing. The most economical way, originally, was to form it around a wire core during extrusion, to keep it from collapsing in on itself. Thankfully, today has seen technology advance enough to make the core obsolete, and through careful preparation the tubing can be extruded much like most polymers can. The ability to make the product faster increased its popularity because it is now more accessible for so many different applications.
Popular Applications Today
The ability of Teflon tubing to withstand greater temperatures than most polymers, of 250C and up, has made it very popular in the automotive industry. Take a look inside your car's engine block and you will find it attached to the radiator, the transmission and the braking system, because these are the three systems most likely to require high temperature fluid transfers. Likewise, its durability to withstand both temperature and caustic erosion has made it a boon to chemical processing plants and labs everywhere.
The smallest version of PTFE extruded tubing, what is known in the industry as spaghetti tubing, one of the many custom tubing sets possible is widely used in the medical industry today. It is not affected by most chemicals and is so smooth as to have virtually no static resistance, making it perfect for use in catheters and other medical devices that are routinely inserted into the body. Its natural resistance also makes it hard for bacteria to adhere to it, which by lucky coincidence, makes it very easy to sterilize as well.
PTFE extruded tubing is truly the wonder product of the last century. Its ability to withstand corrosion, material tainting by chemicals or bacterial agents, and its high temperature tolerance has made it invaluable to the automotive, chemical and medical industries today.