Unreinforced vs. Reinforced
NewAge Industries defines "tubing" as a product that has no reinforcement and "hose" as a product with some sort of reinforcement. Tubing is generally either elastic flexible or semi-rigid flexible material. Hose reinforcement can come from textile or metal braiding, metal or plastic wire, fabric or some combination of these. Generally reinforced hose offers higher pressure and/or vacuum capabilities than unreinforced tubing.
In most applications, unreinforced tubing is considered first. It typically costs less, as the manufacturing process is often simpler, but the type of material has a huge impact on price. For instance, 1/4" I.D. x 3/8" O.D. unreinforced PTFE fluoropolymer tubing costs much more than the same size of flexible PVC tubing. The cost of hose varies by material and the process used to manufacture it, i.e., the cost of making braided PVC hose is much less than the cost of making a mandrel built, multilayer hose.
Obviously there's no need to over-engineer a product and add to its costs. If tubing will adequately handle the intended use, there's little reason not to select it. But when an application involves pressures tubing cannot manage, reinforced hose must be considered. It often handles two-to-four times the amount of pressure unreinforced tubing can withstand.
Factors that influence pressure handling capabilities for both tubing and hose include hose I.D. and wall size, temperature and connections. In general, the larger the hose or tubing, the less pressure capability there is due to the volume of fluid or air being transported through it. For tubing, wall thickness is a big influence; the thicker the wall, the more pressure the tubing can withstand. When it comes to hose, reinforcement and construction are factors. Textile braid reinforcement offers a certain degree of pressure capability, and wire provides another, but hoses that are constructed of multiple layers, usually consisting of fabric and/or wire, offer the highest amount of pressure handling capability.
Temperature matters too. The longer a hose is exposed to its maximum temperature, whether it's the fluid or air within the hose or the environment in which it's housed, the more influence the temperature will have on the performance and lifespan of that hose. The hose's continued exposure to high temperatures will eventually affect its pressure carrying capabilities.
Connectors play an important role in the selection process between unreinforced tubing and reinforced hose. When the tubing or hose is part of an assembly, as is most often the case, assembly pressures are limited not only by the tubing or hose but by how much pressure the tube-to-fitting or hose-to-fitting connection can handle.
There are many different attachment methods and materials used for these connections, all of which have an influence on the assembly's ability to handle pressure. As an example, a plastic barbed fitting with a worm gear clamp will generally have less pressure holding capability than a metal fitting with a metal crimp or swage collar. Assembly connection materials and methods need to be carefully chosen to match performance needs.
The use of unreinforced tubing or reinforced hose will be dictated primarily by the application. Choose a product that's tough enough to handle the job but not more (in both performance and cost) than needed. Consider all factors carefully, and contact a NewAge Industries' Fluid Transfer Specialist at 1-800-506-3924 with questions.
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