Heat shrink tubing is used to help protect an electrical connection from vibration and moisture. Depending on the type of heat shrink tubing, it can be used for applications ranging from industrial to automotive. Our primary focus is obviously on the automotive end, so we’ll highlight some primary tubing types but will have more of a focus on the automotive use.
Heavy Wall Tubing
- Meant for heavy duty applications, such as industrial use
- Provides maximum vibration resistance
- Provides maximum abrasion (puncturing) resistance
- Typically UL listed for underground (direct burial) use
- Usually flame retardant
- Has a 3:1 shrink ratio
Dual Wall Tubing
- Used for lighter duty applications, such as automotive
- May be referred to as medium/multi wall tubing
- Has an inner layer that will melt
- Will bond to the connection once melted
- Provides water resistance to connection
- Has a 3:1 shrink ratio
Thin Wall Tubing
- Used as an insulator only as it will not block any moisture or elements
- Does not have inner adhesive
- Has a 2:1 shrink ratio
Heat shrink tubing can be used to seal out fluids from entering a connection. Typically Dual Wall and Thin Wall are the two primary types of heat shrink tubing used in automotive applications. The tubing is slid over a wire prior to connecting it to another wire, whether with solder or some type of crimp connection. Once the connection is made, the tubing is then slid over the connection with an equal amount of tubing extending out from either side of the connection. Heat, typically from a heat gun, is applied evenly across the tubing, causing it to shrink and form around the connection and the incoming wires. If Dual Wall heat shrink tubing is used for such an application, it will help seal out moisture as its inner adhesive will bond to the connection and wires. Thin Wall heat shrink tubing will not provide this type of moisture protection.
Both Dual Wall and Thin Wall heat shrink tubing will provide vibration resistance to the connection. Dual Wall provides a higher level of vibration resistance because of its inner adhesive layer that bonds to the connection and wires. Our heat shrink tubing can be found here.
The right style of heat shrink tubing can provide a considerable amount of moisture and vibration resistance to an electrical connection, but the core of the connection comes down to choosing the right connector type. Our next article will highlight the different types of electrical connectors and their pros and cons, or check out our video showing these differences here.