Heat shrink tubing

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Animation of heat shrink tube in use. The wires screen has been separated and sleeved.
Heat Shrink Tubing is useful for electrical insulation, color coding, cable bundling and mechanical protection. For electronics 1mm (1/16") fits component leads and will shrink to a skin tight fit. Otherwise the 1/8" and 1/4" diameter sizes are often useful.[1] It is also available with adhesive inside.


To thermally insulate an exponential pair, using a sleeve over the transistor pair and tempco. Strain relief on exposed connections, e.g. leads soldered on potentiometer tags. To terminate the insulation, e.g. after the screen has been separated (and sleeved) from the core wires. Especially to sheath and insulate all exposed mains connections, e.g. connections to a front panel mains on/off switch.


Normally a heat gun is used to shrink the sleeving, taking care not to damage nearby areas and to not overheat the sleeving. The heat from a soldering iron can be used, without touching the sleeving. Do not use a direct flame. A hair dryer won't be hot enough.

Shrink ratio

The shrink ratio is the approximate maximum amount the heat shrink tubing will fully shrink compared to its unshrunk diameter. For example, a 3/4" piece with a 3:1 shrink ratio will shrink down to a maximum diameter of approximately 1/4”. Tubing with a larger shrink ratio is more forgiving in fitting, and has a bit thicker wall thickness and slightly less flexibility when shrunk than a lower ratio product.[2]


  1. ^ Heat Shrink Tubing, JustRadios.com
  2. ^ How to work with heatshrink tubing..., Techflex How-Guide

External links