Vinyl tubing is used in a wide variety of industries from manufacturing to health care, and in a broad range of applications. As a result, many vinyl-tubing designs have been created, so it's important to know exactly what you're looking for when you specify it. Several properties typically are specified when describing vinyl tubing.
Inner and Outer Dimensions
The inner and outer dimensions (commonly specified as I.D. and O.D.) are critical for vinyl tubing. The inner dimension will determine what the tubing is suited to carry, and the outer dimension will impact what kinds of hoses and couplers must be used with it. Common inner dimensions for vinyl tubing range from 3/8 inch to 1 inch; outer dimensions typically run from 19/32 inch to 1 5/16 inch.
Some vinyl tubing is designed for unpressurized air or fluid, while other types are built to handle high-pressure liquids. Common work pressures range from 150 pounds per square inche (psi) to 300 psi. Because vinyl tubing softens at high temperatures, work pressure specifications generally indicate the maximum allowable pressure at room temperature (73 degrees F).
Some vinyl tubing (such as that used in food service) must carry high-temperature liquids without softening; others must remain flexible in low temperatures. Operating temperature for vinyl tubing may be specified in ranges from -10 degrees to 150 degrees F.
Industrial or Food Grade
To be used in food service or manufacturing, vinyl tubing must be made with materials that are certified for food safety by the U.S. Federal Drug Administration. Tubing that meets these requirements is usually specified as "Food Grade" or simply "FDA." Tubing that may not be used in contact with food is often specified as "industrial," although if no food-safety specification is listed, the tubing is assumed not to be Food Grade.
Vinyl tubing may be produced as clear for applications where it is necessary to see the flow of material in the tubing, or black, which sometimes can be made with greater pressure and temperature and solvent tolerances than clear tubing.
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