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Home » Tubing Glossary

Tubing Glossary

           
  • Acrylonitrile-Butadiene-Styrene (ABS): A rigid thermoplastic polymer common in piping applications. It is the counterpart to off-white PVC pipe; ABS pipes are black. ABS is very durable but breaks down when exposed to acetone.
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  • Abrasion Resistance: The ability a material has to withstand rubbing  and scraping. Fre-Thane™ Polyurethane Tubing   has a high level of abrasion resistance.
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  • Annealing: A metallurgic term used in plastics to describe the heating of a polymer to just below the melting point. The process reconfigures the plastic molecules, re-setting the plastic’s “memory.”
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  • ASTM: American Society of Testing Materials.
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  • Bend Radius: The measurement of how far a tube can be bent before it kinks.
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  • Bloom: The residue that in time, comes out of plastics that contain plasticizers, stabilizers or lubricants. Sometimes called a “haze.”
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  • Braid: See “Innerbraid”.
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  • Burst Pressure: The pressure level that is required to burst a tube.
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  • Butt Weld: A joint in a plastic tube or tether that is created by melting two ends and then joining them together, end-to-end. The result is a bond as strong as the original material.
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  • Coextrusion: A process of extruding two materials simultaneously through the same die. For examples, see our extruded tubing page.
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  • Coiled Hose: Coiled hose is a type of coiled tubing that has a reinforcement like a braided thread or other reinforcement.  
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  • Coil tubing: Coil tubing, or coiled tubing is made to withstand kinking and tangling for uses where the hose needs to move. 
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  • Die: The metal nozzle that the polymer is pressed through to create the tubing. The characteristics of size, wall thickness and shape are dictated by the die that is used.
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  • DTA: Dental Trade Association. Freelin-Wade is a member.
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  • Durometer: The hardness of a polymer. There are three scales in use for measuring durometer and they are, Shore A, Shore D and Rockwell.
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  • Elasticity: The tendency of a material to return to its original shape after being bent or stretched.
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  • Extender: A material added to a polymer base that is designed to replace a portion of the polymer compound. Also known as “filler.” Freelin-Wade does not use extenders.
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  • Extrusion: The process used to press melted plastic through a die to create tubing. For examples, see our extruded tubing page.
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  • FEP: Fluorinated ethylene propylene, or FEP, is an alternative to Teflon® tubing. (Teflon® is a registered trademark of DuPont.) FEP tubing is known for chemical resistance and ability to withstand a large range of temperatures.
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  • FPDA: Fluid Power Distributors Association. Freelin-Wade is a member.
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  • HDPE: High Density Polyethylene.
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  • Hose: A tube that has been reinforced with an innerbraid. Freelin-Wade offers a variety of flexible hose products.
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  • IAPD: International Association of Plastics Distributors.
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  • Innerbraid: A woven thread that is inside a tube providing reinforcement. The thread may be any one of many materials though nylon is most common.
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  • Jacketed Tubing: Jacketed tubing allows color coding of a variety of tubing, wire or other materials by wrapping tubing in a neat bundle.
  • Kynar: Kynar tubing is an economic alternative to Teflon® tubing when heat resistance is not needed.
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  • LDPE Tubing: Low Density Polyethylene Tubing
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  • LLDPE Tubing: Linear Low Density  PolyethyleneTubing. More durable than LDPE.
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  • Mandrel: The steel cylinder that plastic tubing and rod is wrapped around in the production of coils.
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  • Memory: The tendency a particular plastic has to go back to its original shape after being stretched or bent. Polyurethane tubing is described as having excellent memory.
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  • Nylon: There are five main types of nylon, including:  6/6, 6, 6/12, 11 and 12. Recently, due to a Global shortage of Nylon 11 and 12, many new blends of nylon are on the market.
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  • Peristaltic Pump: A pump based on a flexible tube. Fluid is moved through the tube by rollers that compress the tube, usually in a rotary alignment. A primary advantage of this type of pump is that the fluid never comes in contact with moving parts and the tube can be easily sterilized. Used extensively in medical applications.
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  • Permeability: The capability a tube has for passing pressurized liquid or gas through its walls.
  • Phthalate: A common substance added to some plastics (usually PVC) to increase flexibility. It doesn't bond with the plastic so over time it may be released into the environment. There are studies linking phthalates to a variety of ailments, particularly in children.
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  • Plastic Tubing: Plastic tubing can be made out of many different kinds of materials including, nylon, vinyl, polyurethane, polyethylene, among others.
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  • Plasticizer: A chemical added to a plastic to improve flexibility. It is what is added to PVC to change it from a rigid plastic used in pipe to a super flexible material for tubing.
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  • Polycarbonate: A high impact thermoplastic resin used in making “bulletproof glass” and microwave cookware.
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  • Polyester: A large classification of resins that are used for making textile fibers. Not a tubing compound.
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  • Polyethylene: Polyethylene, also known by its scientific name, “polyethene,” is a  polymer with eleven different classifications. Freelin-Wade carries both LDPE  and LLDPE Polyethylene tubing.
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  • Polymer: The generic word used to describe many plastics. Specifically, a polymer can be natural or synthetic. The compounds are formed from many low molecular weight monomers that are combined into long molecular chains.
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  • Polypropylene: Polypropylene tubing is a tough, light in weight noted for it’s rigidity and resistance to chemicals.
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  • Polytetrafluroethylene (PTFE): A highly resistant plastic that does not react to chemical influences. It is most commonly known by its brand name, Teflon®.
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  • Polyurethane: A thermoplastic noted for its high resistance to  abrasion while being highly flexible and kink resistant. Available in both an  ether and ester base. The ester-based PUR is less desirable due to how it  degrades in moisture. The ether-based polymer is much more durable and the key  component in Freelin-Wade’s Fre-Thane® polyurethane  tubing.   An outstanding tubing compound, available in four primary durometers.
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  • Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC): PVC tubing is made from a polymer that is tasteless, odorless and will not degrade in most organic solvents. When a plasticizer is introduced, the compound becomes highly flexible with good abrasion resistance. Does not break down the way rubber does.
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  • Resin: Used to describe the “raw” form of plastic. At Freelin-Wade, the term is used for the un-colored plastic pellets that we receive from our suppliers.
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  • Retracted Length: The length of a coil when it is not in use. (antonym: “working length)
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  • Rockwell Hardness: A durometer measuring scale developed by the Rockwell Corporation. Hardness is measured by testing the resistance that a material has to being punctured. See “durometer” and “shore hardness.”
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  • Shore Hardness: Two different durometer measuring scales (Shore A and Shore D) developed by the Shore Instrument Company. The measuring tool utilizes a hammer striking the material and measuring rebound. See “durometer” and “Rockwell hardness.”
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  • Silicone: A plastic with high thermal stability, water resistance, flexibility and low toxicity. Commonly used in medical tubing and cooking applications.
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  • Strain Relief: A type of fitting that prevents a kink to form at the point where the fitting and tube or hose meet. Particularly useful in situations where the maximum working length of the tube is frequently met.
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  • Teflon® Tubing: A product of the DuPont Company, Teflon is a chemical and temperature resistant plastic. Freelin-Wade offers FEP as an economical alternative to Teflon tubing.
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  • Thermoplastic: A plastic that can be reshaped by heating and then sets when cooled.
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  • Thermoplastic Elastomer: Thermoplastics that have characteristics similar to rubber. Unlike rubber though, they can be repeatedly reshaped.
  • Tensile Strength: A measure of the ability a tube has to sustain tension (pulling).
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  • Thermoplastic: A plastic that can be reshaped by heating and then sets when cooled.
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  • Thermoplastic Elastomer: Thermoplastics that have characteristics similar to rubber. Unlike rubber though, they can be repeatedly reshaped.
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  • Tubing: A flexible, non-reinforced, extruded cylinder of any length.
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  • Viscosity: The resistance of a material to flow. Fluids that are highly viscous, are thick and “gooey.” Water has a low viscosity.
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  • Vulcanization: A chemical reaction in plastic that occurs when exposed to sulfur, making soft plastic harder.
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  • Welding: Using heat to close the end of a tether, creating a loop for the addition of hardware.
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  • Working Length: The length of a coil when it is comfortably stretched out to its maximum reach.
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  • Working Pressure: The maximum pressure at a given temperature, that tubing can be expected to perform.

Definitions are from multiple sources. Brands and trademarks are owned by their respective companies.