If you’re worried that your wire connectors will come undone, you may want to use heat shrink tubing. Also known simply as heat shrink, it will reinforce the connectors so that they are better protected from failure.
Heat shrink tubing consists of hollow pieces of plastic. You can place heat shrink tubing over a connector. After applying heat to it via a heat gun, the heat shrink tubing will contract while simultaneously wrapping around the connector. Below are five important things to consider when choosing heat shrink tubing.
#1) Shrink Ratio
You should consider the shrink ratio when choosing heat shrink tubing. The shrink ratio represents shrinkage. It’s a metric for how much the heat shrink tubing will shrink when exposed to heat. A heat shrink ratio of 3:1 means the heat shrink tubing will shrink to one-third of its original size. A heat shrink ratio of 2:1 means the heat shrink tubing will shrink to half of its original size.
#2) Type of Plastic
Nearly all heat shrink tubing is made of plastic. Plastic is a durable, weather-resistant material that will shrink when exposed to heat. With that said, heat shrink tubing is available in different types of plastic. Some heat shrink tubing is made of polyolefin. Other heat shrink tubing is made of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) or fluorinated ethylene propylene (FEP).
Some manufacturers add adhesive to their heat shrink tubing. You won’t be able to see the adhesive. Rather, manufacturers add it to the interior of the heat shrink tubing. Exposure to heat will release the glue so that it forms a waterproof seal. With adhesive, heat shrink tubing will offer greater protection for the wires and connectors.
Don’t forget to consider the size when choosing heat shrink tubing. It must be large enough to fit around the wires and connectors with which you intend to use it. But you should also avoid choosing heat shrink tubing that’s excessively large. If the heat shrink tubing is too large, it may fail to offer a tight fit over the wires and connectors.
#5) Shrinkage Temperature
The shrinkage temperature refers to the temperature at which the tubing shrinks. All heat shrink tubing is heat activated. The specific temperature at which it activates and shrinks, though, may vary. You may have to expose the tubing to 200 to 250 degrees Fahrenheit in order for it to shrink. By checking the shrinkage temperature, you’ll know exactly how much heat is required to shrink it.