Heat Shrink Tubing vs Electrical Tape | Product Knockout

“Our Product Knock-Out series is a match-up between two similar products. In boxing terms, think same weight class, same caliber, same level of experience, and amount of exposure. The purpose of the Product Knock-Out posts are for you to see a side-by-side view of two similar products. These posts will also enable you to understand which one will be crowned champ for your specific purpose. Take your seats and prepare for battle, because the gloves are coming out.”

Heat Shrink Tubing and Electrical Tape are both options used to insulate and protect electrical wires. They both can be used in a variety of applications and come in a variety of colors. As alike as these products may seem, they do have their differences. Let’s take a closer look and see who comes out on top.

What is Heat Shrink Tubing?

Heat shrink tubing is exactly what its name suggests. It is a type of tubing that when heated, shrinks to fit a specific application. The tube starts out larger in size to fit on or around a wire or set of wires. It is then heated to a smaller size which is a pre-determined shrink ratio. Heat Shrink Tubing comes in a range of shrink ratios for a multitude of applications.

In addition to shrink ratio, Heat Shrink Tubing also comes in a plethora of materials. These materials include FEP, Neoprene, Polyolefin, PTFE, PVC, Kynar, and many more. The application determines what material is best used. Different materials boast different qualities. Some materials have higher flexibility properties than others, but others may have better abrasion resistance.

Heat shrink tubing is used in an assortment of applications. These include strain relief, wire bundling, electrical insulation, environmental protection, and identification. Heat shrink can also be used for temporary repairs and preventative maintenance.

M23053 is a specific kind of heat shrink tubing that is most commonly used when military standard is required. This tubing can be used to increase the overall durability of wires, and in protection of outdoor elements such as chemicals, corrosion, water, and surface abrasion. To learn more about this specific type of heat shrink tubing, check out our Allied Encyclopedia article on M23053.

What is Electrical Tape?

Electrical Tape is a type of pressure sensitive tape that is used to insulate and protect electrical wires. It can be made of different plastics such as vinyl, rubber, mastic, and varnished cambric. Vinyl is the most popular and widely used material. Electrical tape has high flexibility and the ability to stretch which allows it to be used in many applications.

Electrical Tape comes in different materials and colors. The most common electrical tape color is black. Electricians use only the black tape, and not colored tape, for insulation. Unlike colored electrical tape, black tape is used for more than one purpose. It can be used for insulation, bundling, repair, and identification. Colored electrical tape is used to indicate voltage and the phase of the wire. This is its primary use. Each color represents either high, low or neutral voltage. When used in wire phasing, the colors tell electricians about the properties of the wires it is being used with.

Heat Shrink Tubing vs. Electrical Tape

Heat Shrink Tubing and Electrical Tape have their similarities, but their differences are what stand out the most. Both materials are used for electrical insulation, come in different colors, and are fairly easy to apply. That is where the similarities stop. Heat Shrink Tubing comes in predetermined shrink ratios. This allows for a more precise fit when applying. It also has more variety of materials that are specific to applications. Electrical Tape has a few different materials, but the most commonly used is vinyl. Heat Shrink Tubing is also more reliable. It will not come off with time or use, where electrical tape will eventually lose its adhesiveness. Electrical Tape will also not perform as well in applications that have a high risk of being affected by outside influences such as chemicals and abrasion. When compared to Heat Shrink Tubing, Electrical Tape is easier to apply and remove. Although both are fairly simple to apply, once heat shrink tubing is shrunk to fit, it will be secure and not as easy to remove as peeling off electrical tape. Electrical Tape also offers a quick way to identify voltage by its many colors and phasing. There is also a standard with Electrical Tape that specifies voltage for each color used in phasing and black tape is known to be the only color used for insulation. These products may seem similar at first, but when they are closely examined, their differences outweigh their similarities.

“Winner by unanimous vote? Instead, it seems as if the match has ended in a technical decision. In this case, it looks like our crowned champ depends on your specific application or use.”

Whether your application calls for something heavy duty like Heat Shrink Tubing, or you need Electrical Tape for simply phasing wires, Allied Wire & Cable is the place to go. Visit our website to submit an RFQ or call us for more information – 800-472-4655.

Allied Encyclopedia: M23053 Heat Shrink Tubing

What is M23053 Heat Shrink Tubing?

M23053 is heat shrink tubing that is used to overall increase the durability of wire and cable. This specific spec is rated to military standards and can be used for military applications. Below this post will discuss some of the specific military lines of M23053 that Allied carries.

M23053 tubing is used to protect wire and cable from external damages. These include chemicals, water, corrosion, and surface abrasion. In addition to protection, heat shrink tubing is also flexible and offers extreme heat resistance. The tubing shrinks to a predetermined size/ratio when heat is applied.

This heat shrink tubing can can be made of various materials. Some of the most popular materials of M23053 heat shrink tubing are Polyolefin, Ethylene-Tetrafluoroethylene (ETFE), Polytetrafluoroethylene(PTFE), Neoprene, Polyvinylidene Fluoride (PVDF), Kynar, and PVC.

M23053 Applications

Heat shrink tubing can be used in a variety of applications. The most common uses for heat shrink tubing are strain relief, wire bundling, electrical insulation, mechanical protection, environmental protection, and component identification. Heat shrink tubing can also be used for repairs, either temporary or permanent. Different types of heat shrink tubing has different shrink ratios to ensure the proper fit for your application. There are options such as 2:1, 3:1 and 4:1 Your application will determine which shrink ratio to use.

Mil Spec Tubing Options

M23053 is rated to military standards and can be used in military specific applications. Some of the most common M23053 slants are /5 and /6, /11, /13, and Kynar /8.

M23053/5 and M23053/6 are Polyolefin heat shrink tubing. These two slants have excellent resistance to water, fungus and UV light. It can be used in applications for bundling, insulation and protection, water and dust proofing, and shock protection. Shrink ratios for this tubing range from 2:1 to 4:1.

M23053/11 is FEP heat shrink tubing. This slant boasts high heat and non stick components which allows it to make a tight seal around components. It can be used in applications that require excellent chemical resistance, as well as high heat situations. The shrink ration is 1, 3:1.

M23053/13 is Viton heat shrink tubing. This slant is ideal for use where high flexibility is needed in either low or high temperatures. It is also good for use where protection from abrasion, fuels, acids, and solvents are present. The shrink ratio for Viton heat shrink is 2:1.

M23053/8 is Kynar heat shrink tubing. This slant is a semi-rigid and flame retardant, Polyvinylidene Fluoride thin wall tubing. It has great cut through, abrasion, and heat resistance properties. M23053/8 is used for jacketing components, fuse coverings, or where strain relief is needed. The properties of this Kynar tubing allow it to be bent, flexed, or twisted without using its mechanical or electrical strength. It has a 2:1 shrink ratio.

heat shrink tubing, heat shrink, m23053

Heat Shrink Tubing

There are many other options of heat shrink tubing in addition to the ones mentioned above. If you have any questions as to which heat shrink tubing option is good for your application, be sure to check out our Heat Shrink Tubing FAQ page or visit our main Heat Shrink Tubing page to browse on your own. As always, if you have any questions, call us at 800-472-4655.

M23053 Heat Shrink Tubing to Require QPL Listing

Changes are in store for the heat-shrinkable tubing industry; M23053 Mil-Spec grade tubing will require a QPL Listing, in addition to its original “First Article Test Report” requirement.

Over the years there have been many complaints about the quality, or lack thereof, within the AMS-DTL-23053 approval.  Many end users have criticized the amount of low quality products which claim to meet the requirements of the current AMS-DTL-23053 but prove inadequate, and so the movement to convert M23053 to a more stringent code began.

M23053 Heat Shrink Tubing

M23053 Heat Shrink Tubing

The change is finally being implemented after several large military and aerospace end users requested the QPL, many of which have a strong influence upon industry specs within the SAE Standards Group.  While the SAE group facilitated the change, the NAVAIR organization is responsible for the actual execution.

SAE members decided a QPL was the best solution to eradicate substandard products and to ensure that the products which meet these standards are premium quality only.  A QPL, or Qualified Producers List, is administered and maintained through U.S. Government agencies.   Many items on the QPL are required to perform in rigorous and critical applications, so only the best will suffice.

Within the next month or two, SAE-AMS-DTL-23053 will be replaced with the new SAE-AS23053 requiring QPL.  All QPL items, including AS25053, must go through a 3 year review and retention of qualification cycle.

M23053 Mil-Spec heat shrink tubing increases the durability of a wire and protects it from outside elements, and a QPL listing will ensure only the best quality for your applications. Although this additional QPL requirement only applies to M23053 Mil-spec tubing, be sure to check out Allied’s large selection of heat-shrink tubing to find the ideal product for your application.

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