Myths About Thermoset Tubing
Thermoset applies to materials that are literally thermo, or heat, set (formed) into a particular shape. Unlike thermoplastics, once a thermoset material is formed, it cannot be melted or softened and made into another shape because its molecular structure has been permanently cross-linked. Types of thermoset materials include silicone, latex, Viton®, butyl, nitrile and EPDM.
Thermosets are known for heat resistance, chemical resistance, flexibility and design adaptability (thickness and thinness). But there are some misconceptions about thermoset materials, such as:
Myth 1: All thermoset tubing materials will kink. Reinforcement such as braiding will make a thermoset material like silicone much less prone to kinking. Thermosets used in multi-layered reinforced hose, such as those with fabric and/or wire reinforcement, are built to be kink-free. In the case of unreinforced thermoset tubing, thicker tubing walls can help reduce the chance of kinking.
Myth 2: Thermoset tubing materials can be melted and reused just like plastic. They can't. Thermoplastic materials can, due to their chemical makeup and molecular structure, be melted and reformed into shapes that are different from their original shape. Thermoset materials undergo a chemical reaction when they are heated that physically changes their structure by cross-linking the molecular chains. They cannot return to their original form once they are heated and set into shape. This does not mean, however, that thermoset materials cannot be recycled.
Myth 3: Thermoset tubing is always tacky or sticky. Not true – it depends on the particular thermoset material and how it's processed into a finished shape. Thermoset tubing such as silicone or Viton may feel tacky, but other materials – nitrile or butyl, for example – can result in a smooth and slick feel. Bear in mind, though, that the tacky feel of some thermosets is not necessarily considered a downside. A customer may want that tackiness for performance characteristics such as softness and better gripping.
Is there a thermoset tubing myth you're curious about? Send us an e-mail and we'll address it.
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