*extrusions* eNewsletter article - 3 Myths About Thermoplastic Tubing
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Issue Number 37 JUNE 2015
3 Myths About Thermoplastic Tubing

Thermoplastics are materials that can be repeatedly melted or softened, then formed into shapes. Examples include PVC, polyurethane, FEP and PFA fluoropolymer, nylon and polyethylene. They're versatile, cost effective and used in nearly every modern industry. There are, however, a few misconceptions about them.

rigid PVCMyth 1: All plastic tubing is flexible. There are many degrees of flexibility in the tubing world. Usually the most noted feature of flexibility involves elasticity. Tubing types like nylon, polypropylene and fluoropolymer are examples of rigid non-elastic material that can be bent with a limited bend radius. Other types such as flexible PVC, polyurethane and silicone offer varying degrees of elasticity and can be bent much more easily. Then there are rigid PVC, acrylic and polycarbonate types that are not elastic and will not bend at all.

Myth 2: All plastic tubing leaches dangerous chemicals. It doesn't. You may have heard about phthalates, such as Di(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate better known as DEHP, and how these substances can leach from plastic tubing and into the fluid stream. But not all plastics contain phthalates or other plasticizers. Polyurethane, for example, is naturally flexible and requires no additives for pliancy. Others, like some styles of PVC tubing, have been reformulated to eliminate DEHP.

Myth 3: Plastic tubing of a particular material from one manufacturer is the same as that from another manufacturer. Not necessarily. Within any raw material family of products there are usually many choices of compounds available to make the tubing. Each compound will have its own features and properties which may or may not be comparable between suppliers.

For example, if you are evaluating a 60A durometer PVC tubing from supplier A to a 60A durometer PVC tubing from supplier B, they may have vastly different properties and performance capabilities. There are regulatory issues, physical property values, manufacturing conditions, the use of different base compound components and other items to be considered. Do not assume that potential suppliers offering the same durometer and material type will provide identical capabilities or specifications for their tubing.

Is there a plastic tubing myth you're curious about? Send us an e-mail and we'll address it.


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