Author Archives: LoriAnn Vincent

  1. A Complete Guide to Fluoropolymers

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    What Is a Fluoropolymer?

    The high-performance fluoropolymer plastic family is known for its strong carbon-fluorine bonds. Fluoropolymers offer chemical resistance, electrical insulation, and thermal stability, making them ideal for many industrial uses. Some of these include medical, automotive, electronics, and aerospace applications. They come in several types: PTFE, ETFE, PFA, CTFE, PVDF, ECTFE, FEP, Rulon®, and PCTFE. Here, we will explore what fluoropolymers are and the properties of each type to help you choose the ideal solution for your application.

    Types of Fluoropolymers

    Teflon®/PTFE (Polytetrafluoroethylene)


    Types of Fluoropolymers

    Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) or Teflon® offers several beneficial characteristics, including:

    • High resistance to electricity
    • Low coefficient of friction (non-stick properties)
    • Chemically inert and non-toxic
    • Bio-compatible for medical applications
    • Exceptional resistance to solvents and chemicals
    • Corrosion, weather, and UV resistant
    • Withstands operating temperatures of 260 °C

    PTFE’s non-stick properties and heat resistance make it ideal for bearings, insulators, surface coatings, and conveyor belt rollers in the food processing and service industry. PTFE gaskets and linings are suitable for chemical applications due to the material’s chemical resistance, and its high-temperature resistance makes it ideal for insulating external aircraft fittings and jet engines in the aerospace industry. The medical industry prefers PTFE for its bio-compatibility, making syringes and catheters easy to insert without irritating human tissue.

    ETFE (Ethylene Tetrafluoroethylene)

    Forms: ROD, TUBE, SHEET

    Ethylene tetrafluoroethylene (ETFE) offers the following advantages:

    • Long lifespan
    • Lightweight construction
    • Stable at extremely low and high temperatures
    • Can reach B1 flame-retardant ratings
    • Recyclable

    Because of its resistance to petroleum, ETFE is increasingly being used for fuel tubing in the automotive industry, as well as for gaskets, o-rings, and hose linings. The electrical industry uses the material for insulating wires and components like connectors.

    PFA (Perfluoroalkoxy Fluorocarbon)

    Forms: ROD, TUBE, SHEET

    Perfluoroalkoxy fluorocarbon (PFA) offers the following properties:

    • Withstands a wide range of temperatures
    • Chemical stability
    • Low coefficient of friction (non-stick properties)
    • UV and chemical resistant
    • High dielectric strength
    • High purity

    PFA is ideal for insulating bushings, cables, and wires due to its electrical and thermal resistance. It can coat components and tubes for chemical processing due to its high resistance to most chemicals and anti-stick properties. Its purity and FDA approval also make it ideal for sensitive applications like pharmaceutical and semiconductor handling processes.

    CTFE (Chlorotrifluoroethylene)

    Forms: ROD, TUBE, SHEET

    Chlorotrifluoroethylene (CTFE) offers several beneficial properties, including:

    • Radiation and arc resistant
    • Low coefficient of friction (non-stick properties)
    • Withstands high temperatures
    • Low deformation under stress
    • Remains flexible at low temperatures
    • High dielectric strength
    • Flame and chemical resistant

    CTFE is ideal for manufacturing chemical apparatus and fluid handling system components. It is also widely used in fabricating gaskets, bearings, cams, gears, valve seats, stems, and seats. High-vacuum applications use CTFE because of its crack and corrosion resistance.

    PVDF (Kynar®)

    Forms: ROD, TUBE, SHEET

    Kynar® or polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF) offers the following properties:

    • Mechanical strength
    • Resists abrasion, chemicals, UV light, and radiation
    • High creep resistance under stress
    • Low water absorption
    • High dielectric strength
    • Withstands high and low temperatures

    PVDF is ideal for creating flexible, heat-shrinkable tubing and components like pumps and sensors for chemical processing. The electronics and electrical industry uses PVDF for jacketing, coating wires, and insulation in industrial and aerospace applications.

    ECTFE (Halar®)

    Forms: ROD, TUBE, SHEET

    Ethylene chlorotrifluoroethylene (ECTFE) offers several beneficial properties, including:

    • Weldability
    • Hydrophobic properties
    • Resists weathering and UV exposure
    • Smooth surface inhibits bacterial growth
    • Chemical and flame resistant
    • Withstands high and low temperatures

    ECTFE is suitable for coating ductwork in the semiconductor industry to prevent contamination and corrosion. The oil and gas and chemical industries use it to line vessels, tanks, and other components. ECTFE films are used in architecture, offering a longer lifespan and a washable surface for glass and windows. Cables and wires in the electronics industry can be jacketed or coated in ECTFE.

    FEP (Fluorinated Ethylene-Propylene)


    Fluorinated ethylene-propylene (FEP) offers the following properties:

    • Tear and impact resistance
    • Weather resistance
    • Chemical resistance
    • Range of operating temperatures
    • High dielectric strength
    • Low coefficient of friction
    • Weldable and heat-sealable

    FEP is ideal for insulating electrical wires, cables, and connectors. It can line chemical processing equipment and tubing. FEP is also suitable for manufacturing thermoformed components and heat-sealable bags.


    Forms: ROD, TUBE, SHEET

    Rulon® offers the following properties:

    • Low coefficient of friction
    • Resistant to chemicals
    • Abrasion resistance for improved lifespan
    • Withstands a range of temperatures and pressures

    Rulon® is ideal for manufacturing piston rings, seals, thrust and flanged bearings, sleeves, skived sheets, bearings, and other components for valves, appliances, air compressors, and printers.

    Polychlorotrifluoroethylene (PCTFE)

    Forms: ROD, SHEET

    Polychlorotrifluoroethylene (PCTFE) offers the following beneficial properties:

    • Low deformation under load
    • High dielectric strength
    • Low moisture absorption and gas permeability
    • Resists wear and stress cracking
    • Suitable for cryogenic fluid service valves
    • FDA-approved
    • Chemical, corrosion, and weather resistance
    • Cold flow resistance
    • Durable and rigid

    PCTFE is ideal for components in chemical and cryogenic applications. It is suitable for aerospace plugs, diaphragms, impellers, pumps, and valve seats and can be used in high radiation or nuclear applications. It is also ideal for seals, gaskets, laboratory equipment, and valve linings in liquid oxygen and liquid nitrogen applications.

    Benefits of Fluoropolymers

    Fluoropolymers are a preferred material in various applications and industries due to their favorable properties:

    • Exceptional Chemical Resistance: Will not react or corrode when exposed to most chemicals.
    • High-Temperature Stability: Non-flammable and withstands high-temperature environments.
    • Low Friction and Non-Stick Properties: Reduces wear, prolongs service lifespan, and makes the material easy to clean.
    • Electrical Insulation: Non-electrically-conductive due to their high dielectric strength and low dielectric constant.
    • UV and Weather Resistance: Withstands various types of weather and will not absorb water.
    • Excellent Purity and Biocompatibility: The material will not cause contamination through leaching. It will not cause adverse effects when exposed to living tissue.
    • Mechanical Strength and Durability: Resists cutting and crushing under loads and stresses.
    • Easy Machining and Fabrication: Fluoropolymers are tough yet easy to machine and fabricate into tubing, sheets, films, and other forms.

    Fluoropolymers by National Plastics & Seals

    Now that we have explained the various types, benefits, and applications of fluoropolymers, you can choose the ideal fluoropolymer for your application. National Plastics & Seals is a leading provider of precision machined and fabricated plastic components with over 35 years of experience in the industry. Request a quote to start a solution for your application.

  2. Choosing the Right Heat Shrink Tubing

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    Heat shrink tubing provides added protection and is a common choice for securing wires and electrical connections. Choosing the right heat shrink tubing is the key to a smooth project. Some of the best ways to ensure you’re making the right choice is to:

    • Consider the application environment, such as temperatures, weather, potential contaminants, and more.
    • Ensure it meets the right certifications and standards for your industry.
    • Based on your application’s needs, decide the color, expanded ID, recovered ID, recovered wall thickness, and material.

    In this guide, we’ll go over the various factors to keep in mind when choosing the best heat shrink tubing, as well as their common materials.

    Heat Shrink Tubing Considerations

    Because heat shrink tubing protects wiring and electrical lines from the environment, it needs to be able to keep all potential environmental hazards at bay. The exact conditions can vary from location to location, so it’s important to keep these heat shrink tubing considerations in mind:

    Abrasion or Flex Damage

    Electrical lines and wiring will shift over time. Above-ground installations may be bumped, moved, or pushed against; even below-ground installations may encounter some flex as the ground expands and compresses in the weather. The right heat shrink tubing material will be able to handle the physical hazards in your intended application environment. 

    Arc Flash

    An arc flash occurs when an electric current leaves its path and travels through the air to the ground, or from one conductor to another. In this case, the proper heat shrink material would encase the wiring and provide sufficient resistance to ensure electrical current stays on course.

    Exposure to Chemicals

    Almost no locations are free from the risk of chemical contaminants. Assess the likely chemicals, including solvents, chemical salts, oils, and greases, present in your application environment. You may need specialized materials or multiple/thick layers of protection to ward away particularly caustic or pervasive substances.

    Exposure to the Elements

    In outdoor or partially enclosed environments, protection against harsh temperatures isn’t enough. The material must also be strong enough to withstand rain, snow, abrasive winds, and direct or indirect UV exposure.

    Exposure to Temperature Extremes

    Very cold or very hot climates present different risks to the effectiveness of heat shrink tubing. Even if the line is buried and out of direct exposure, temperatures can reach deep into the ground. Make sure you choose a heat shrink tubing material that can withstand extreme heat and cold, or large variations in temperature. 

    Fire Risks

    The heat shrink tubing you choose needs to both halt the spread of a fire and mitigate the risk of an external flame from reaching and damaging the wires; this is also referred to as flame-retardancy.


    Virtually every environment will have moisture, ranging from ambient humidity to rainfall or even proximity to marine spaces. Determine the amount of water, frequency of exposure, and duration of exposure the heat shrink material needs to be able to protect the wiring against.

    Common Heat Shrink Materials

    Now that you know what to look for, consider the properties of commonly used heat shrink materials to find the right fit for your needs. Common material options include:

    • Fluoroelastomers. This material is flexible, even at cold temperatures. It can also resist diesel and fluid damage.
    • Fluoropolymers (PTFE). PTFE has multiple grades, including a medical grade variation. This material can also operate reliably across hot and cold temperatures.
    • PET. Polyethylene terephthalate is strong, clear, and comes in food-safe options.
    • Polyolefins. This material is well-regarded for its insulative ability. It can be used in a wide range of manufacturing and industrial use cases.
    • PVC. PVC is flexible, easy to work with, and can handle physical impact without degrading. However, it does have a relatively low-temperature resistance.

    Choose Heat Shrink Tubing From National Plastics & Seals, Inc.

    Choosing the right thickness, material, and characteristics of your heat shrink tubing can make all the difference for protecting electrical wiring long-term. At National Plastics & Seals, we specialize in formulating and producing high-quality heat shrink tubing that can work in a variety of conditions. We excel at customer service and meeting the needs of clients with custom projects and specifications. Contact us today to learn more about our products or request a quote to get started.