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Ethylene tetrafluoroethylene, or ETFE, is a copolymer of ethylene and tetrafluoroethylene (TFE). This copolymer combines the fully fluorinated TFE with non-fluorinated ethylene to produce a material with considerably increased strength compared to PTFE, PFA, or FEP. ETFE possesses superior impact strength and abrasion resistance than PTFE but with somewhat less flexibility. ETFE also has improved cut through and stress cracking resistance. ETFE maintains its mechanical properties up to a continuous working temperature of more than 300 ºF (148 ºC).
ETFE can be extruded in variety of forms including flexible convoluted tubing. In heat shrinkable form, this copolymer has a lower recovery temperature than most plastic polymer heat shrinks and possesses excellent dielectric strength. This insulating feature and lower heat shrink temperature make ETFE highly suited as a splicing aid for wire harness applications in addition to its use as simple jacketing material. ETFE heat shrink is available in custom sizes and lengths upon request.
ETFE is nearly chemically inert, thus, it is suited to chemical fluid handling and analytical applications. ETFE is radiation resistant allowing it to stand up to gamma sterilization protocols; this together with ETFE tubing’s flexibility has lent it to be used in medical device applications. With its superior toughness, durability, and chemical reactivity, ETFE has found its way into a broad spectrum of applications.
We produce ETFE in extruded tubing, multi-lumen tubing, Sub-Lite-Wall™ tubing, heat shrink, and special profiles. We can also combine ETFE with fillers to further modify this product to specific applications. For example, ETFE with glass filler greatly increases the material’s ability to tolerate physical stresses and wear. This filler also lowers the weight per volume of the finished product.
ETFE can be sourced with flares, flanges, draw downs, drilled holes, or a combination of more than one Secondary and Value-Add Services and can be made in long continuous lengths. This material is also available in custom extruded shapes, sizes, colors, profiles, and multi-lumen forms.
Contact our team or call toll-free in US 1-800-526-3842 or International at +1-803-268-9500 to learn more about this and other Zeus products.
Note: The information in the Zeus website, catalog, and other sources presents and discusses generally accepted properties for non-pigmented virgin polymer resins from which Zeus fabricates its line of extruded products. Actual properties may change due to processing method, resin grade, extruded dimensions, and other variables. It is the end user’s responsibility to fully evaluate and test the fitness of the product for their specific application.
Critical Fluid Transfer – ETFE’s unique copolymer structure protects against chemical invasion, physical abrasion, and radiation. ETFE maintains its mechanical properties at a continuous working temperature up to 300 ºF (148 ºC) and can withstand exposure to a wide range of acids, bases, and hydrocarbons. ETFE tubing is used where there is a need for high chemical resistance, moderate temperature tolerance, and excellent mechanical strength. You will find this tubing used in areas such as automotive, aerospace, medical, oil and gas exploration, analytical, chemical, and general industrial applications.
Dry Lubrication – ETFE is a very lubricious plastic with a low coefficient of friction nearly matching that of PTFE. This smooth surface facilitates feeding of wires and other components through extended tubing channels for applications also requiring abrasion protection. ETFE also provides a durable jacketing material that easily slides over fiber optics without causing damage.
Electrical – Because of ETFE’s exceptional dielectric properties, ETFE heat shrink is a good option for electrical insulation while at the same time conferring superior chemical resistance when shrunk over wires. ETFE heat shrink is an excellent splicing aid for designed applications or repairs made in the field.
Furcation Tubing – Also called jacketing, this ETFE application is commonly used in fiber optics to protect these fragile communication devices. ETFE’s lubricious surface enables it to easily slide over fiber optics without damaging these delicate fibers. ETFE is UV and chemically resistant and can operate in temperatures up to 300 ºF (148 ºC).
Wire Splicing – ETFE heat shrink provides exceptional electrical insulation and chemical resistance; these attributes serve it well as a splicing aid when needing to join wires without soldering or welding.
General Industrial – ETFE is a lubricous fluoropolymer and its collective properties make it a good option for many industrial applications. ETFE can be manufactured in long continuous lengths. This form is ideal for air sampling technologies that need tubing to support instrumentation and that will not degrade when exposed to caustic liquids, gases, or elevated temperatures.
Medical – ETFE is sterilizable via several protocols including gamma irradiation, ETO, and autoclaving. ETFE tubing’s high degree of chemical inertness also makes it very amenable to use in a medical setting and is Class VI approved.
Wire Harness – With a dielectric strength extending up to 1800 volts/mil, ETFE is an effective option for wire harness insulation in addition to its abrasion protection. ETFE convoluted tubing serves as a flexible conduit to protect wires, cables, and fiber optics from physical damage due to its mechanical toughness while also providing added insulation. Expandable ETFE spiral wrap, or spiral cut tubing, provides similar abrasion protection.
Convoluted Tubing – This tubing contains multiple convolutes in series resulting in a highly flexible and maneuverable tubing material. Also called flexible conduit, convoluted tubing is used as protective covering for wires and fiber optics in critical areas of aerospace, automotive, and general industrial applications.
Custom Profiles – We excel in the production of tight-tolerance custom profiles and special shapes for our extruded products. Our ETFE tubing modifications include special profiles, splines, and many other unique shapes which you tell us that you need. Engineered surfaces can be applied to the inner, outer, or both diameters of the tubing. We have developed the technology to bring unique extruded profiles from concept to reality.
Etching – Many fluoropolymers, including ETFE, have very low coefficients of friction and are very disinclined to react with other materials, thus they do not readily bond to other substances. To overcome this drawback, we can chemically etch the surface of ETFE tubing so that it can be bonded to another material. We can etch tubing over the length of the tube or for specific lengths on the end. ETFE extruded tubing can also be etched on the inside diameter, outside diameter, or on the tip of the tubing.
Extruded Tubing – ETFE tubing is adaptable to many applications because of its many improved properties over such polymers as PTFE and FEP. ETFE extruded tubing offers superior strength compared to FEP, PFA, and PTFE and also possesses very high chemical resistance. ETFE tubing provides somewhat greater stiffness but also possesses excellent impact protection. This tubing can be used to protect its contents from chemical contaminants and mechanical stresses while also providing insulating properties for electrical applications. ETFE’s mechanical properties endure at temperatures to 300 °F (148 °C). ETFE tubing can be formed into special shapes to maximize application flexibility for design requirements. Spiral cut tubing is a post-extrusion modification that we can create with ETFE to form an expandable tubing for wire bundling and harnessing applications.
Fiber – The smooth surface finish, chemical resistance, and mechanical properties of ETFE make it very amenable as a monofilament. ETFE fiber exhibits exceptional toughness, radiation resistance, and no chemical reactivity towards nearly all common solvents and corrosive solutions. Zeus performance fibers offer a range of properties to match your design and application needs. These light weight custom-ordered monofilaments have excellent wear capabilities and are generally available in sizes of 0.003″ (0.0762 mm) to 0.04″ (1.016 mm). Other sizes may also be available.
Fillers – ETFE tubing is available with a number of fillers to allow you to more precisely tailor your product to your application. Barium or bismuth can provide visibility to the tubing under fluoroscopic procedures. Glass added to the ETFE resin gives increased abrasion resistance to the tubing while also lowering its weight per volume. Carbon can be added to aid static dissipation, and pigments add color. Additional fillers are available by request.
Heat Shrink – ETFE heat shrink has broad applications ranging from covering and protecting critical components in harsh working environments to wire splicing. ETFE’s lower recovery temperature of 360 ºF (185 ºC) to 420 ºF (215 ºC), its temperature tolerance, and its chemical resistance make this heat shrink a primary option for component and wire encapsulation.
Lay-Flat™ Tubing – Zeus Lay-Flat™ tubing is tubing which is pressed flat and delivered spooled onto rolls or cut to length. Lay-Flat™ tubing provides a seamless, flexible, and flattened tubing with all of the beneficial traits of conventional ETFE tubing. Lay-Flat™ tubing is the perfect solution for protection and build-up prevention typically required for laser printer rolls, copiers; and fax and paper machines. Lay-Flat™ tubing is custom developed and made to your specifications with all aspects kept confidentially to each customer.
Multi-Lumen – Our Multi-Lumen tubing contains numerous lumens, or “passages,” forming multiple working channels that run the length of the tubing. These channels allow multiple instruments, guide wires (medical), or fluids to be passed through the tube but contained within a single outside diameter tubing. Multi-lumen tubing is widely used in medical devices such as catheters as well as in electronic devices and fluid handling applications. Zeus multi-lumen tubing is made with tight tolerance capabilities and the highest quality standards.
Sub-Lite-Wall™ – This ETFE ultra-thin walled heat shrink has been developed specially to minimize thickness where thickness is of critical importance such as in catheter design and fiber optics coatings. ETFE’s Sub-Lite-Wall™ heat shrink is sterilizable for biomedical applications to encapsulate probes, meters, and other tools. Our ETFE heat shrink has a low heat shrink recovery temperature compared to many other polymer heat shrinks allowing it to be used in many more applications.
- KEY PROPERTIES
Abrasion and Impact Resistance – ETFE’s hardness has a direct bearing on the manner in which it tolerates abrasion and impact; with this greater toughness comes ETFE’s greater ability to tolerate physical trauma.
Biocompatible – ETFE products are non-toxic and are USP Class VI approved making them suitable for biomedical and laboratory use.
Chemical Resistance – ETFE is unreactive towards almost all commonly encountered solvents including acids, bases, or hydrocarbons which would typically affect other plastics.Flame Resistance – ETFE tubing is safe to use at temperatures up to 300 °F (148 °C), is flame resistant, and is UL 94 V-0 compliant.
Greater Crush Resistance – ETFE’s properties not only contribute to its higher pressure rating but likewise mean that ETFE tubing is much more resistant to crushing.
Higher Tensile Strength – Compared to other fluoropolymers, ETFE exhibits very high tensile strength enabling it to withstand high levels of mechanical stress.
Higher Pressure Rating – ETFE’s exceptional mechanical properties gives ETFE tubing a higher pressure rating than many other fluoropolymers.
Mechanical Toughness – ETFE has superior hardness and strength compared to other common fluoropolymers such as PTFE, PFA, or FEP. ETFE’s toughness allows it to stand up to high levels of mechanical stress including burst, cracking, and crushing in a wide range of environments.
Melt Weldable and Thermoformable – In heat shrink form, ETFE is fully weldable when heat is applied and is also thermoformable.
Moderate Continuous Working Temperature – While ETFE has many superior working qualities, its properties are best maintained when used at temperatures not exceeding 300 °F (148 °C).
Resistance to Stress Cracking – With its superior tensile strength and mechanical toughness, ETFE tubing is highly resistant to stress cracking.
Sterilizable – Our ETFE tubing tolerates several sterilization methods including gamma irradiation, ETO, and e-beam procedures Likewise, its high temperature tolerance means that it is also autoclavable.
Summary of Properties
PHYSICAL ASTM ETFE Density (g/cc) D792 1.70-1.86 Water Absorption (%) D570 0.007 Standard Percent Crystillinity (%) 50 Refraction Index 1.34 Radiation Resistance (MRad) 50 Oxygen Index (%) D2863 30-46 MECHANICAL ASTM ETFE Hardness, Shore D D2240 63-72 Ultimate Tensile Strength (MPa) D638 37-50 Elongation at Break (%) D638 200-550 Modulus of Elasticity (GPa) D638 0.49-0.78 Flexural Modulus (GPa) D790 0.70-1.20 Coefficient of Friction 0.05-0.40 ELECTRICAL ASTM ETFE Volume Resistivity (Ω-cm) D257 1×1017 Dielectric Constant 1 MHz D150 2.5-2.6 Dielectric Strength (V/mil) D149 400-1800 THERMAL ASTM ETFE Thermal Conductivity (W/m-K) C117 0.24 Maximum Service Temp, Air (°C) 150 Minimum Service Temp, Air (°C) -100 to -190 Melt Temp (°C) 230-280 Glass Temp (°C) 40-80 Decomposition Temp (°C) E1131 350-380 Coefficient of Thermal Expansion, linear 20° (µm/m- °C) D696 50-90