Fluoropolymer Tubing – Why the Shortage?
Fluoropolymer tubing is used for a wide variety of applications because of its heat resistance (up to 500°F, 260°C), excellent chemical resistance, and non-stick properties. Many fluoropolymer tubing manufacturers have been faced with a shortage of raw materials this year, and tubing supplies have been dwindling. The outlook for the future isn't good either. What's the reason behind this?
Fluoropolymers such as PTFE, FEP, PFA, and PVDF are made using a mineral called fluorspar. Fluorspar is mined primarily in China, Mongolia, Mexico, and South Africa, with China controlling most of the world's resources. That country's demand for fluoropolymers has surged, and China has tightened its exports of fluorspar. At the same time, the number of PTFE processing companies has dropped as some processors shifted focus. The result has been shortages and dramatic price increases.
So if fluoropolymer tubing isn't available, what can you use? Everyone's application has its own specifications, but there may be cases where another tubing material can be substituted.
If your application's main concern is temperature resistance, silicone's wide range (-100°F to 500°F, -73°C to 260°C) may offer an option as long as it has chemical, pressure, abrasion, and mechanical properties appropriate for your application. For chemical resistance polypropylene may work, since it offers general chemical resistance that approaches fluoropolymer. Flexible PVC tubing and reinforced hose also offer chemical resistance properties. Coextrusions, where two different tubing materials are extruded as an inner and outer layer that are bonded together, offer another solution. And, since there are a few different types of fluoropolymer products, it may be possible to substitute one for another depending on material availability and your application needs.
All of these options and others can be discussed with NewAge's Fluid Transfer Specialists. They are ready to discuss your applications and offer suggestions on how you may be able to solve your fluoropolymer tubing shortage problems. Call or send an email today.
Phone: 800-506-3924 (toll free US only) or 215-526-2300
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