Ultimate Guide To PTFE As The Best Flexible Tubing Material


It is very important to select the best tubing material to protect your wiring, cabling, and other applications from harsh work environments.  There are various options including FEP, Nylon, and PTFE with each having mechanical properties that make it more suitable in particular situations. Each material is fabricated to match the required application requirement. Tubing is essential in various industries including medical robotics, automotive, aerospace, and automation. Read on to discover what makes PTFE the ideal tubing material.

PTFE Tubing

Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) is a synthetic polymer consisting of carbon and fluorine derived from tetrafluoroethylene (TFE). Its trademarked name is Teflon and has unique properties that make it very important in various applications. The carbon-fluorine bond gives PTFE exceptional resistance and non-reactive mechanical properties. Its high melting point at about 327°C makes it ideal for use in applications involving high heat.

Additionally, PTFE is hydrophobic making it water-resistant and unable to become wet. Its chemically inert to most chemicals and solvents. The most significant benefit of Teflon is its high flexural strength that allows flexing and bending at low and high temperatures. With the lowest friction coefficient of any solid material, nothing sticks to Teflon.

Perhaps its most well-known property is its low coefficient of friction, which is the lowest of any solid material in existence. In other words, to be precise, nothing will stick to it. Common applications for PTFE are in protecting cables and wires from corrosive chemicals or industrial solvents. Where high heat applications are necessary, PTFE tubing excels.

Applications of PTFE Hoses

The self-cleaning and exceptional resistance make PTFE ideal for making hoses in various sizes, shapes, and purposes. Hoses with this material resist chemicals since no substance penetrates it or compromises its strength. Additionally, PTFE hoses have strong weather, temperature, and aging resistance to avoid degradation.

It is a great idea to get flexible hose with PTFE for their self-cleaning feature. This does not allow any foreign substance to attach or stick to the hose making it maintain high sanitary standards. Therefore, it makes PTFE hoses ideal for applications including food and beverage, cosmetics, and pharmaceutical manufacturing. The durability, self-cleaning, cleanliness, and versatility of PTFE hoses allow use in other applications including steam, hot oil, chemicals, solvents, paint, and adhesives.

Benefits Of Using Teflon Hoses Over Other Materials

Exceptional Heat resistance

Some polymers cannot last in industrial settings where temperature can rise to the extreme. These are likely to melt and warp causing maintenance and operating messes. Teflon hoses are ideal for environments with extreme heat for its ability to resist extreme cold and heat. Hoses with PTFE tolerate a very high temperature of over 200°C.

Resistance To Corrosion

Exposure to the wrong chemical type might potentially cause the breakdown of most polymers. Those including polyamides and polyethylene work with chemicals but require understanding their particular corrosion resistance . Fortunately, PTFE is a universal solution for use without worry about corrosion. Teflon withstands highly corrosive situations on exposure to various chemicals. This makes it the most suitable material in hazardous applications.

Vapor barrier

Another significant benefit of Teflon tubing is its vapor barrier. Unlike other polymers, PTFE does not hold on to liquids just like oil and water bubbling up on non-stick pans. This feature significantly improves PTFE tube performance and encourages self-cleaning.  So, PTFE tubing is ideal for protecting cables and wires in wet conditions. Additionally, it facilitates flow rates in fluid transfer applications.

Chemical Resistance 

In automation, a PTFE hose does not allow gasoline odors from seeping out after burnouts. Teflon also supports various automotive fluids including ethanol in blended gasoline better than regular rubber hoses. PTFE hoses never breakdown when exposed to gasoline, unlike rubber hoses. These are likely to degrade into dangerous conditions with leaks and spraying fuel.

Available For Different Applications

There are various PTFE hoses to suit multiple purposes. Hoses without braids are for non-pressurized or low-pressure applications in versions including smoothbore and corrugate.  Industrial applications including laboratory, food, and pharmaceutical industry require non-braided Teflon hoses. Keep in mind that steel reinforcement is required for a smooth bore and convoluted hoses in all industries.  Care is required to ensure investment in high-quality PTFE hoses for applications requiring food products, pharmaceutical applications, and handling aggressive chemicals.

Things To Keep In Mind When Using PTFE Hoses

You have to use appropriate fittings advised by the hose manufacturer to give the fitting a good seal. This is created with a ferrule, not like a regular insert with care emphasized during cutting. Additionally, going past the bend radius specifications on the PTFE hose encourages kinking. So, great care is required to stick to the recommendations by the hose manufacturer.

Bottom Line

Teflon is a wonderful tubing material for various applications without sacrificing durability and flexibility. The ideal PTFE hoses bend easily, perform well, and last for ages to give you good value for money.