Flexible Plastic Tubing
Flexible plastic tubing is a broad term used to describe the bending capabilities of any tubing made from plastic. Such plastics include polyurethane, nylon, polyvinyl chloride (PVC, or, more commonly, vinyl), polyethylene, polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF, which goes by the name brand “Kynar”), fluorinated ethylene propylene (FEP), and static dissipative polyurethane.
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Materials for Flexible Plastic Tubing
The flexibility of any given flexible plastic tubing ranges based on the plastic made from it. For example, both PVC and polyurethane are very flexible. Nylon, polyethylene, Kynar, and FEP, on the other hand, as harder plastics, are far less flexible than the former, though they are still certainly more flexible than a pipe. Additionally, all of these plastics have differing qualities that present different merits. Flexible plastic tubing made from polyurethane and extremely flexible resists kinks, chemicals, and abrasions and has a superior memory for coiled tubing or self-storing hose applications. Specifically, it is exceptionally resistant to most gasoline, oils, kerosene, and other petroleum-based chemicals. It may be ordered in a number of different hardnesses. PVC, which is as flexible as rubber, is lightweight yet quite strong and resistant to abrasion. PVC tubing can handle a wide variety of liquids, chemicals, and gasses. Nylon, Kynar, and FEP have excellent memories and can be made into self-storing hoses. While not boasting as strong of a memory, polyethylene is the most widely used plastic in the world, so it is an economical choice for applications that do not require quite as flexible of tubing. Low density polyethylene (LDPE) is quite resistant to cracks, can be used with a wide range of temperatures, and is often approved for use with potable water and other food handling applications. High density polyethylene (HDPE), while not as flexible, stands up to sterilization by boiling and withstands corrosive materials.
Applications of Flexible Plastic Tubing
Some applications for which flexible plastic tubing is called upon are air and gas lines, chemical lines, pharmaceuticals, food and beverage, instrumentation, laboratory and research, agriculture, material handling, transfer lines for internal contamination fluids, hydraulic control, protective jacketing, pump feed and discharge, refrigeration, water, and fluid lines.