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Choose the Right Tubing Material

Tubing

Tubing assemblies play an important role in connecting the various components you find on pneumatic equipment, including valves, pumps, and cylinders. Tubing also facilitates the flow of gas and pressurized air to ensure proper functioning pneumatic applications.

Several factors go into selecting the right tubing, among them the tubing material. The material that makes up a tubing assembly will greatly affect the efficiency and long-term service life of your industrial equipment. Various tubing materials are available, each with their own advantages and downsides.

Learn more about the various types of tubing materials for pneumatic applications.



Polyurethane

Polyurethane is among the most common choices for tubing due to the material's inherent flexibility and abrasion resistance in challenging industrial environments.

Choose this material if you want to benefit from the stability of plastic and the flexibility of rubber. You can use polyurethane in a number of settings, including in chemical, oil, water, and gas-based applications.

Other characteristics that make polyurethane a suitable tubing material include flexural capacities, low compression levels, high tensile strength, and impressive elongation capabilities.

On the downside, urethane tubing may create low-pressure conditions, incompatibility issues with the fittings, and lower overall effectiveness of the pneumatic equipment. To resolve this problem, custom tube fabricators can build tubing with thicker walls, which helps to improve pressure inside the tube.

Nylon

Nylon tubing has comparably stronger walls and is generally compatible with fittings that use a push-to-connect mechanism. Stronger walls deliver higher internal pressure, which is crucial in any pneumatic application.

Nylon is highly chemical and temperature resistant, making this material a suitable choice for heat-intensive pneumatic applications. Like polyurethane, nylon also demonstrates impressive chemical resistance properties that make this material suitable for use in a variety of industrial settings.

However, nylon is comparatively costlier. Additionally and in spite of advances in tubing technology, nylon lacks complete flexibility and takes up more bend room, which may not be the best use of the limited space in pneumatic assemblies.

Polyethylene

For many years, polyethylene was among the most common tubing materials due to its affordability and flexible properties.

Consider polyethylene if your particular application only needs lightweight and inexpensive tubing assemblies. Industries such as food, chemical processes, and laboratories can benefit from the properties and cost-effectiveness of polyethylene tubing.

Polyethylene is essentially plastic, but the material demonstrates higher abrasion resistance, flexibility, inertness, and leak resistance. However, excessive bending can easily damage polyethylene tubing, and the weaker walls can cause the tubing to disconnect from the fittings in applications involving a higher operating pressure.

Thermoplastic Rubbers

Thermoplastic rubbers, also known as thermoplastic elastomers, are a combination of plastic and rubber. This material has many uses across several industries including in automotive, industrial, and domestic appliances, as well as electrical applications.

Compared to similar materials such as polyurethane, thermoplastic rubber has a significantly high compression value, making this material a great choice for applications involving peristaltic pumping.

Additionally, thermoplastic rubber has excellent flexibility and wear resistance characteristics. In particular, the material can withstand lower temperatures and can stand up to ultraviolet rays.  

On the downside, thermoplastic rubber is comparably costlier and may not be a suitable choice for heat-intensive pneumatic applications.

The efficiency of pneumatic equipment largely depends on the quality of the tubing assembly. In addition to considering factors such as tube size, cost, and compatibility with push-to-connect fittings when selecting tubing, be sure to choose the appropriate tubing material to ensure equipment longevity.

If you want tubing in Tulsa, Oklahoma, for your industrial applications, call the experts at KIMS International. We have innovative tubing solutions that meet the demands for chemical resistance, pressure, temperature, and flexibility. We can also custom fabricate tubes to suit your needs.