Replacing Seamed Tape in Composites Structures for FEP Lay-Flat

The FEP Lay-Flat heat shrink tubing is the go-to replacement for processes using thin FEP film or seamed tape in the lay-up and cure of unique shapes for composite structures. Zeus FEP Lay-Flat has uses in the automotive, aerospace, and wind power industries when applied to mandrels to fabricate composite parts. It eliminates the labor-intensive methods of film and tape wrapping and the application of sealing agents commonly associated with composite construction.

FEP Lay-Flat heat shrink tubing easily slides over a mandrel as a sleeve to aid in composite forming. Then the product can be heated with an oven to give a seamless, “glove-like” fit protecting the mandrel during cure. It is fully weldable when heat is applied and is thermoformable allowing it to be set into shapes. The tubing is naturally lubricated and removing it after cure is easy and more efficient than past film manufacturing practices.

FEP Lay-Flat heat shrink tubing is customizable for a number of applications requiring thin walls in comparison to film. Zeus Lay-Flat material is also available in long unceasing lengths. For shrinkage, FEP Lay-Flat can have a ± 10% longitudinal change as it is expanded: the shrinkage varies by temperature and exposure time with expansion ratios typically in the range of 1.3:1 to 1.6:1, which can be customized for each application.

Zeus’ FEP Lay-Flat heat shrink tubing comes in a range of diameters, from ¼″ (6.35 mm) to 3½″ (89 mm) outside diameter (OD). The tubing is “Lay-Flat” for ease of shipping and is placed on spools where it is compressed and flattened. Wall thickness varies from 0.002″ (0.051 mm) to 0.020″ (0.508 mm) and can be customized to suit application needs. Catalog FEP Roll Covers also are commonly utilized for and can be made to fit mandrels up to 12″ (305 mm) with 0.020″ (0.508 mm) – 0.030″ (0.762 mm) wall thickness. Other resins in heat shrinkable form are available upon request.

FEP Lay-Flat is non-toxic and USP Class VI approved, meaning it meets biocompatibility needs. In keeping with this, it can tolerate multiple sterilization protocols including gamma radiation, ETO, e-beam, and autoclaving.

It has a broad working temperature and can be used at temperatures ranging from -200 °C to 204 °C, making it ideal for many applications and temperature extremes. It is also flame resistant and safe to use at elevated temperatures, is flame resistant, and is UL 94 V-0 compliant.

FEP Lay-Flat heat shrink is chemically resistant, resistant to nearly all common solvents whether they are acids, bases, or hydrocarbons. Consistent with FEP’s negligent chemical activity, Zeus’ FEP Lay-Flat heat shrink has extremely low absorption of solvents. Its UV rating means it can withstand prolonged UV exposure without degrading or breaking down, meaning that it can be used under sterilizing UV light or outdoors.

This information has been sourced, reviewed and adapted from materials provided by Zeus Industrial Products, Inc.

For more information on this source, please visit Zeus Industrial Products, Inc.

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