Flexible PVC tubing offers a broad range of chemical and corrosion resistance, excellent abrasion and wear resistance, rubber-like flexibility, visual contact with the flow (available with clear styles), and outstanding flow characteristics. These features, along with various construction options offered (wire or braid reinforcement, rigid pipe, unreinforced) and the different formulations available (fuel and oil, 3A, FDA, NSF), make PVC attractive for so many applications. These include general industrial, food, pharmaceutical and medical, chemicals, fuels, oils, and mechanical applications including protective coverings and insulation sleeving.
A rubber-like thermoset material, silicone tubing and hose is extremely pliable and elastic, and it is not altered by the effects of weather. It generally exhibits inertness toward U.V., radiation, and ozone making it an excellent choice for electrically-associated applications.
Silicone tubing has long been used for medical tubing, as it meets the medical industry’s requirements for cleanliness and non-toxicity. Another of silicone’s major features - resistance to extreme temperature variations - has enabled its use in applications where a flexible tubing is needed to handle temperatures not possible with other plastics or rubbers.
Fluoropolymers are some of the most versatile engineering materials known and, since their discovery over 60 years ago, have been used in nearly every field of modern industry, technology, and science. Their non-stick properties became commonly recognized by the consuming public when E. I. DuPont began marketing his "Teflon®" brand product for use on cookware, as a fiber treatment for stain resistance, and in other household applications.
Fluoropolymer material is recognized for its excellent resistance to heat - up to 500ºF continuously. Lesser known is its usefulness in extremely cold temperatures - well below -200ºF. It will remain reasonably flexible to -110ºF.
Because fluoropolymers are almost universally inert to industrial chemicals and solvents, their use for corrosion protection has become one of their largest growth areas. With few exceptions, fluoropolymer tubing can handle virtually any corrosive chemical in use today.
Polyurethane combines the best properties of both plastic and rubber. It offers abrasion and tear resistance, high tensile and elongation values, and low compression set. Polyurethane is naturally flexible and exhibits virtually unlimited flexural abilities.
Combining good chemical resistance with excellent weathering characteristics sets polyurethane apart from most other thermoplastics. It has exceptional resistance to most gasolines, oils, kerosene, and other petroleum-based chemicals, making it an ideal choice for fuel lines (although additives in today’s gasoline and petroleum products warrant field testing).
The two basic formulations of urethane, ester and ether, have some important differences. Water attacks ester-based urethane, causing a significant reduction in physical properties. Ether urethanes exhibit far superior hydrolytic stability, especially in humid environments. Ether-based materials also resist fungus growth better than ester-based materials.
Polyethylene has long been recognized as an engineering plastic that exhibits a high degree of inertness, making it attractive for use in markets such as food and beverage, laboratories, and chemical processing where leaching or permeability would present risks. Polyethylene is also one of the lower-cost plastic materials and satisfies many requirements that call for inexpensive, lightweight tubing.
Thermoplastic rubber (TPR) combines the processability of plastics with the flexibility and durability of rubbers. Typically more light weight and formable than rubber, TPR has been growing in acceptance for many applications over the last decade. TPR provides outstanding compression characteristics, making it an ideal fit for use with peristaltic pumps. The material also offers excellent resistance to flex fatigue and tear. It maintains good flexibility to temperatures approaching -80ºF.
Aimed as a substitute for metal, nylon’s light weight and corrosion and abrasion resistance have made it an attractive design choice.
NYLOTUBE® is offered in two formulations, nylon-11 and nylon-12. While both types exhibit similar physical properties and performance, nylon-11 is available in a food grade version made of FDA-approved materials (semi-rigid style, natural color). Nylon-12 is typically used in various industrial applications and is somewhat less expensive than nylon-11.
Nylon’s elastic memory is exceptional and can withstand repeated flexing over a long period of time without fatigue or fracture. This makes it a popular choice for retractable coils. NYLOTUBE also offers high-impact resistance, even at subfreezing temperatures, and low moisture absorption to minimize dimensional instability.
Latex natural rubber tubing has been used extensively in the health care industry for many years. From there it has expanded into the food, toy, instrumentation, and sporting goods fields.
Known for its extreme flexibility, latex is among the most flexible and elastic rubber materials in use today. Resiliency is another quality of latex tubing, allowing it to maintain memory after repeated bending, stretching, or pulsating forces.
Latex also withstands repeated sterilization with either steam, Ethylene Oxide, or gamma radiation. There are no added plasticizers, coagulants, or fillers to migrate and contaminate the stream or cause tube hardening.
Known for its resistance to oils and chemicals, this remarkable material retains its good mechanical and chemical resistance properties at extremely high temperatures better than any other known elastomer. Viton is also a standout material in its resistance to weather-related aging and ozone. In fact, samples weathered in direct Florida sunlight showed little or no change in properties or appearance after 13 years of exposure.
Viton’s fluid resistance far exceeds that of most other synthetic rubbers. It is resistant to hydro-carbons such as benzene, carbon tetrachloride, toluene, and xylene - fluids that normally act as solvents on rubber, disintegrating the material; leading to tubing failure. Engineers looking for exceptional resistance to petroleum-based fuels, oils, lubricants, and mineral acids at elevated temperatures will often turn to Viton, because most other thermoplastics cannot meet the necessary resistance levels.