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Perfluoroalkoxy, or PFA, was first produced by DuPont in the early 1970’s. This well-characterized melt-processable fluoropolymer combines many of the best traits of PTFE and FEP. At 500 °F (260 °C), PFA has a higher service temperature than FEP and maintains its mechanical integrity in extreme temperatures even when exposed to caustic chemicals. PFA has a greater tensile strength than PTFE and a smoother surface finish than both PTFE and FEP.
PFA comes in high purity (HP) versions that are SEMI F-57 certified. HP PFA tubing lends itself well to critical fluid transport applications that demand a very low level of extractables. PFA can be extruded in convoluted tubing forms to provide a highly flexible conduit. PFA tubing supports applications ranging from laboratory plumbing, food processing, adhesive transfer systems; to fuel, paint, and hydraulic lines. (We also offer PFA in monofilament fiber form by custom order).
PFA’s excellent lubricity, clarity, flexibility, and chemical resistance have led this versatile polymer product to become a popular choice in the semiconductor, chemical, oil and gas, aerospace, automotive, pharmaceutical, fiber optics, and medical industries. PFA is also suitable for food contact and is FDA compliant (FDA 21CFR.177.1550); it is also widely used in the pharmaceutical industry.
We manufacture tubing with PFA resin in a wide range of sizes and thicknesses. PFA tubing is available with special packaging options such as double poly bagged, end cap secured, pre-cut coiled lengths, and custom laser marking for part identification. We also offer custom extruded products made from our diverse polymer portfolio.
PFA can be sourced with flares, flanges, draw downs, drilled holes, or a combination of more than one Value-Added Service.
Learn more about our Value-Added and our other secondary performance options.
Contact us or call toll-free in the US 1-800-526-3842 or +1-803-268-9500 internationally to see what Zeus can do for you.
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 – HP PFA’s unique molecular structure reduces chemical extractables, protects against ionic contamination, and is nonreactive with virtually all commonly encountered chemicals. PFA maintains its mechanical integrity at high temperatures. HP PFA’s purity makes it a preferred tubing option in pharmaceutical applications. In the automotive and aerospace industries, PFA is highly utilized for fluid transfer applications or for air passage requiring excellent chemical resistance. PFA tubing meets SEMI F-57 certification for Ultrapure Water and Liquid Chemical Distribution Systems. Our Double Containment Tubing featuring a PFA inner tubing and a FEP outer tube has been developed for enhanced security while transferring caustic fluids.
Dry Lubrication – PFA’s highly smooth surface finish provides dry lubrication solutions for a variety of applications including fuel hoses and other fluid tubing lines. PFA’s smooth outer surface facilitates feeding of wires and other components through extended tubing channels and confined compartments and spaces.
Electrical – Because of PFA’s exceptional dielectric properties, PFA heat shrink is an excellent option for electrical insulation while at the same time conferring chemical resistance when shrunk over wires. PFA can tolerate high and low temperatures. PFA heat shrink is an excellent splicing aid for designed applications or repairs made in the field. PFA Lay-Flat® tubing can be custom shaped and used for electric motor slot liners. PFA heat shrink can be found in automotive, aerospace, oil and gas exploration, and many other general industrial applications.
Encapsulation – PFA heat shrink provides yet another option for protecting your critical components from harsh working environments. PFA heat shrink can easily withstand wide temperature ranges, exposure to chemicals, and long-term weather exposure. Similar to other heat shrinks, PFA can be used to cover items such as temperature probes, metal roll covers, and wires and cables but provides many material advantages over other polymers.
Furcation Tubing – Also known as jacketing, this application is most commonly used in fiber optics to protect these fragile communication devices. PFA tubing easily slides over fiber optics without damaging these delicate fibers. PFA’s broad operating temperature range allows it to perform in hot and cold environments. In multi-lumen form, PFA tubing allows multiple channels of fibers to be contained in a single outside diameter.
General Industrial – Bridging the properties of FEP and PTFE, PFA’s lubricity, flexibility, clarity, mechanical properties, and chemical resistance make it an ideal material for a broad spectrum of applications. PFA’s wide temperature range allows it to reach from the very cold to very hot while maintaining resiliency. PFA’s clarity makes it a good choice where visibility is needed to monitor fluid transfer, particularly at high temperatures.
Semiconductors – PFA can be made into specialized tubing for semiconductor fabrication units that have a unique molecular structure which fight against ionic and metallic contamination. HP PFA is a SEMI F-57 certified material making it an excellent option for semiconductor clean room applications requiring high levels of purity and low metallic contamination. PFA is designed to provide longer service life in challenging clean room environments and is nonreactive with virtually all chemicals. Our high-quality Double Containment tubing is a material of choice in semiconductor industries where levels of chemical extractables and high continuous service temperature are required.
Wire Harness – PFA is excellent for wire harness insulation due to its high dielectric strength and insulating properties. PFA convoluted tubing serves as a flexible conduit to protect wires, cables, and fiber optics from abrasion because of its mechanical integrity while also providing added insulation. Expandable spiral wrap, or spiral cut tubing, provides similar abrasion protection while also allowing wiring access throughout the length of the harness.
Convoluted Tubing – This tubing contains multiple convolutes in series resulting in a highly flexible and maneuverable tubing material. Also referred to as flexible conduit, convoluted tubing is used as protective covering for wires and fiber optics in critical areas of aerospace, automotive, and general industrial applications where flexibility, clarity, and performance are paramount. Zeus PFA convoluted tubing can withstand continuous temperatures up to 500 °F (260 °C).
Custom Profiles – We excel in the production of tight-tolerance custom profiles and special shapes for our extruded products. Our PFA tubing profiles include engineered surface tubing, splines, and many other unique shapes which you, the customer, tell us 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.
Double Containment Tubing − Featuring a High Purity PFA inner tubing and a FEP outer tube, our Double Containment tubing has been developed for enhanced security while transferring caustic fluids. This “tube-in-tube” configuration has an inner HP PFA tube for transfer of harsh chemicals and an outer tube of FEP as a containment safeguard against hazardous leaks. Our Double Containment tubing meets SEMI F-57 certification for critical fluid handling.
Etching – The smooth surface finish of PFA means that this tubing is not easily bonded to other materials – especially plastics. To overcome such a problem, we have the ability to chemically etch PFA tubing to create a highly bondable surface. Etching can be done over the length of the tube or for specific lengths on the end. Our tubing extrusions can also be etched on the inside diameter, outside diameter, or both.
Extruded Tubing – PFA tubing is adaptable to a wide spectrum of applications because of its many utilitarian properties. PFA generally has better mechanical properties than FEP but still possesses a high degree of clarity to visualize tubing contents. PFA can also be used at higher temperatures than FEP. For tensile strength and flex life, PFA tubing bests PTFE; PFA also has a smoother surface finish that PTFE. Tubing made from our PFA can be used to protect its contents from chemical contaminants and mechanical stresses while also providing insulating properties for electrical applications. Spiral cut tubing is a post-extrusion modification that Zeus creates to form an expandable tubing for wire bundling and harnessing applications that allows easy access or break-out of the wiring anywhere along the length of the harness.
Fiber – The highly smooth surface finish, chemical resistance, and mechanical properties of PFA make this material very amenable as a monofilament. Zeus performance fibers offer a range of properties to suit just what you need. These light weight custom-ordered monofilaments have excellent wear capabilities and are generally available in sizes of 0.003″ (0.076 mm) to 0.040″ (1.016 mm). Other sizes may also be available; check with a Zeus team member to find out more.
Fillers – PFA tubing is available with a number of fillers to help further tailor your product for your specific application. Glass filler provides additional abrasion resistance, tensile strength, and increases heat deflection temperature; carbon alters the resin’s electrical properties; and pigments are available for color specifications. Additional fillers are available by request.
Heat Shrink – PFA heat shrink provides a layer of protection in a shrink-to-fit form to encapsulate sensitive components in many applications including electronics, medical devices, telecommunications hardware, and oil exploration equipment. In electrical applications, PFA heat shrink is ideal as a splicing aid for joining electrical wires either for designed applications or temporary repairs. The spliced wires are protected, secured, and insulated by the PFA 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 PFA. Lay-Flat tubing is the perfect solution for protection and build-up prevention typically required for laser printer rolls, copiers, fax and paper machines, and even for battery protection. Because of its insulating properties, Zeus Lay-Flat® tubing is also utilized as slot liners in motors. Lay-Flat® tubing configurations are specific to your needs with all aspects kept confidentially to each customer.
Multi-Lumen – Our Multi-Lumen tubing contains numerous lumens, or “passages,” to create multiple working channels that run the length of the tubing. This allows 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. We manufacture PFA multi-lumen tubing with tight tolerance capabilities and the highest quality standards.
Retractable Tubing – While still a form of extruded tubing, we use a proprietary process to “heat set” PFA tubing into helical coils that remain flexible yet recoil or retract when released. Retractable tubing is commonly found in application such as pneumatic tools attached to air lines which allow the tools to return to a designated position when not in use.
- KEY PROPERTIES
Biocompatible − PFA is appropriate for medical applications. It is biocompatible to USP Class VI (non-toxic, non-hemolytic, and non-pyrogenic), and PFA products can be sterilized by gamma, ETO, e-beam, or autoclaving.
Broad Working Temperature Range – PFA’s extensive service temperature range of -328 °F (‑200 °C) to 500 °F (260 °C) gives it one of the widest application windows of any fluoropolymer plastic.
Chemically Resistant – While not as fully chemically resistant as PTFE and FEP, the chemical resistance of PFA is nevertheless excellent, and PFA has few known solvents. PFA protects against ionic contamination. Generally, PFA is preferred over FEP when extended service is required in harsh environments particularly in conditions that may induce stress cracking.
Excellent Clarity and Flexibility – While FEP is among the clearest fluoropolymers, PFA is a close second but maintains its mechanical properties such as flexibility at higher temperatures than FEP. We can also modify the levels of clarity to some extent for your PFA tubing through different processing methods and through the use of a variety of PFA resin grades.
Flame Resistant – PFA tubing is safe to use at elevated temperatures, is flame resistant, and UL 94 V-0 compliant. Even if PFA does burn, the heat of combustion is extremely low with an extremely low release of smoke.
Low Gas Permeability – PFA is an excellent barrier between PFA tubing’s contents and outside environment preventing chemicals from seeping in or out of the tubing.
Low Level of Extractables – PFA has an ultra-low level of metallic and organic extractables assuring that virtually no chemicals will leach out of the tubing.
High Limiting Oxygen Index – PFA has a very high limiting oxygen index of >95 meaning that more than 95% of the atmosphere PFA is exposed to must be oxygen for PFA to burn.
High Dielectric Strength –PFA’s high dielectric strength means that this material provides insulating properties in addition to the other beneficial traits for which PFA is known.
Smooth Surface Texture – PFA’s very low coefficient of friction means that PFA tubing has a highly smooth surface finish. This smooth finish means that PFA is easier to wipe clean.
Sterilizable – PFA is amenable to several sterilization protocols including gamma irradiation, e-beam, and autoclaving.