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Heat Shrink or Cold Shrink Tubing - What’s the difference?

Although Heat Shrink and Cold Shrink tubing look almost identical from the surface, their internal characteristics are incredibly different. Each of the tubing has a different insulation technique, different applications, and different physical properties. The tubing can be for a variety of applications including but not limited to, splicing, terminating, and environmental seals. This kind of tubing is more cost effective and easier on the environment than most other similar tubing.

So, if these products are so similar how are they different? The most evident difference between Heat Shrink and Cold Shrink is the difference in how each one is applied. Heat shrink comes pre-stretched and has a sleeve. This sleeve requires a heat source for installation and cannot be installed without one. The polyolefin tubing is shrunk to its original size, creating a seal over the cable or joint. The polyolefin material in the heat shrink is more resistant to most chemicals and becomes extremely ridged once heated, making it a great option for mechanical protection. Heat shrinks tubing are ideal for use in industrial/commercial installations were operating temperatures are low and where chemical resistance is required.

Cold shrink also comes stretched over a removable plastic core, which allows for easy mobility on the application. The moving cote, and the tubing will contract, creating water tight seal around the connection or cable. Cold shrink is composed of silicone rubber, allowing for a greater UV resistance. This UV resistance allows for cold shrink to be used in exposed, outdoor environments. It also had an “active memory” allowing it to return to its original size and shape, no matter how far it was stretched. Also, Cold Shrink is more cost effective than Hot Shrink due to its ability to stretch without heat. The best way to decide what kind of tubing works for you is to assess the environment in which it will be used.

ASAP Semiconductor has a dedicated and expansive array of Heat Shrink Tubing and Cold Shrink Tubing, making us the premier supplier of tubing components. We serve customers as a one-stop shop and key destination for product sourcing.


January 20, 2021
February 6, 2020

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