AS9120B, ISO 9001:2015, and FAA AC 0056B ACCREDITED

A Guide to Cold Shrink Tubes

When working with cabling and wiring, it is often useful to have some sort of sleeve that can organize and/or protect assemblies by keeping them all together. This is often done with a form of tubing, and it is very common to procure specific types that can be treated in a way that causes them to wrap tightly around the objects contained within them. While this is often done through the use of heat shrink tubing that tightens when heat is applied, this is not the only solution available. In various instances, one may utilize what is known as a cold shrink tube.

Like other shrink tubes, cold shrink tubing is able to shrink down to a much smaller size for a secure fit. Unlike heat shrink tubes, there is no need for high temperatures to cause the tube to shrink. Despite having the name “cold shrink,” such tubing does not actually require very cold temperatures to work. Rather, the name comes from the simple fact that there is no heat required for installation. As such, one may wonder, “how does it shrink then?”

In its natural state, a cold shrink tube will always be trying to condense in size, yet this is staved off with the use of an inner plastic core that maintains its diameter. This plastic core is perforated in design, featuring a tube known as a rip cord that can be pulled from the component. The rip cord is fairly easy to remove, simply requiring one to pull it out with their hand. Once the rip cord is removed and the inner core pulls away from the tubing, it will immediately begin to shrink down in size. The amount of shrinking that a cold shrink tube can do is fairly high, with a 1.5 inch diameter tube getting as small as 0.35 inches once the pull cord is removed.

The tubing itself will generally be made from a rubber such as EPDM or silicone, both of which are widely available on the market. The choice between each will often come down to what characteristics are required, such as EPDM tubes being more rugged while silicone can grow smaller and tighter. If the tube will be in contact with other surfaces and materials, an EPDM cold shrink tube may be the best choice in order to prevent any damage or failure.

One of the most common applications of cold shrink tubing is for cell phone towers, allowing for electrical cables and connections to be protected from moisture and water that results from weather. Additionally, such tubing also finds use within confined or dangerous spaces where it is too difficult or unsafe to use heat shrinking tools like blowtorches. Beyond such examples, one may also find cold shrink tubing in telecommunications, oil, cable television, energy, satellite, and WISP industries and applications. If you yourself are in the market for top-quality cold shrink tubing for RF coaxial cable components, connector parts, or other such assemblies, there is no better purchasing platform than NSN 360 for all your needs.

On our database, we host over 2 billion new, used, obsolete, and hard-to-find items that have been sourced from leading global manufacturers that we trust. Take the time to peruse through our various part and manufacturer catalogs, and we are always just an email or call away from assisting you through the purchasing process for any items of interest. As we are fully dedicated to the quality of our inventory, we choose to only stock parts from leading manufacturers that we trust, and all ship out alongside their applicable qualifying certifications and manufacturing trace documentation. Get in contact with one of our team members today and see how NSN 360 can serve as your strategic sourcing partner for all your operational requirements.


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