Yes, the answer is heat shrink can be fuel resistant. But there are other, important questions to ask
as the specifics are key.
Is the fuel gas, liquid or solid?
This is important as the specifications of the product you need must be aligned with the properties
of the fuel. The specifications will need to take all of this into account if the fuel and the wire which it is protecting (the substrate) need to be kept separate.
- Fuel resistance
- Operating temperature
- Fire Hazard
- Mechanical Protection
- Abrasion Resistant
Things to look out for under the specifications:
1. Is the fuel stored under pressure?
A standard heat shrink that stands up to ambient pressure levels may not be suitable for a highly pressurised environment.
2. Is the fuel acidic?
Fuel cells can contain certain types of acids. If the tubing is not inert or resistive then it will chemically react with the fuel and degrade itself and possibly the fuel too.
3. Is the fuel a fire hazard?
There is almost a guaranteed yes to this question, which means the heat shrink will need to be a flame-retardant grade to prevent it from burning.
4. What is the fuel type?
Often the general information/specs will mention a broad category of fuel.
For example, our PLDR100 and the TE product DR-25 are specially formulated for optimum high temperature fluid resistance. The products are resistant to aviation and diesel fuels, hydraulic fluids and lubricating oils. Aviation fuels (jet fuels) are usually based on kerosene. Light aircraft, on the other hand, use Avgas, which is aviation rated gasoline. So even this point
needs delving into further to select the right product.
5. Is the fuel chilled?
An extreme example would be rocket fuel. Cryogenic fuel is stored at extremely low temperatures (to keep it in liquid form). So, when in use,
what temperature will the fuel be at and can the product withstand the extremes of temperature? Back to the specs again to determine what lowest temperature resistance is needed/available.
6. Will it (the heat shrink) be in contact with heat?
With engine compartments, there’s going to be some hot machinery involved and if so, how hot? The heat shrink (if it’s going to be in contact with the machinery) will need to be able to cope with this, which means selecting for the correct top temperature resistance.
To sum up…
Yes, some heat shrink is fuel resistant, but this is just part of the story. There is a host of other considerations to bear in mind. For example, compliance with various standards (e.g. flame retardant) is also key.
Can we help?
Need more advice? Contact us to speak to one of our experienced sales team.
It might also be helpful to know that we offer the following fuel-resistant products:
DR25 is designed for optimum high temperature fuel and fluid resistance. These fluids include aviation and diesel fuels, hydraulic fluids and lubricating oils. It has a high continuous operating temperature of 150°C; DR-25 also offers superior mechanical protection and abrasion resistance.
DR-TW Specially formulated for optimum high-temperature fluid resistance, and long-term heat resistance. Resistant to aviation and diesel fuels, hydraulic fluids and lubricating oils. Contact us for details to purchase.
RW-200-E is a Viton® fluoroelastomeric heat shrinkable tubing, which is ideally suited to applications where temperature and fluid resistance are major factors. RW-200-E will withstand a continuous operating temperature of 200°C and still maintain a good resistance to fuels, most hydraulic fluids and other chemicals, extreme weather conditions, and radiation.
PLDR100 is fuel resistance to aviation and diesel fuels, hydraulic fluids and lubricating oils. Common applications include insulation, oil resistance and mechanical protection.
PLK175 is a semi rigid and resistant to most fuels, solvents and chemicals with a continuous operating temperature of 175°C. This product can also easily withstand 350°C for short periods.
RW-175 tubing is highly resistant to flame, high temperatures and chemicals. Modified polyvinylidene fluoride material provides outstanding abrasion and cut-through resistance. Its very thin wall design and standard clear colour make this tubing suitable for dense packaging applications and/or visual inspection of covered components.
PLV200 withstands a continuous operating temperature of 200°C and maintains good resistance to fuels, most hydraulics fluids/other chemicals, extreme weather conditions and radiation. PLV200 has good flexibility, combined with excellent abrasion resistance.
TFE250 is a fluoroplastic material which is fuel resistant and has almost total chemical & solvent resistance. It has extremely high electrical resistance and total resistance to UV radiation.