Comparing Insulations to Insulations: Thermoplastic VS Thermoset

by | Nov 18, 2021

Comparing insulations to insulations

Thermoplastic VS Thermoset

Today our comparing segment takes a look at two comparable insulations, thermoplastic and thermoset, that share similarities but are also different. Since the two insulations and jackets are popular and used very often by industries, these insulations and jackets can be seen throughout many manufacturers’ catalogs as well as in the custom configurating documentation. Though many might ask themselves, what exactly does thermoplastic as well as thermoset imply? How do these insulations vary from each other and where can they be used in? 

Thermoplastic, what is it? 

The best way to describe thermoplastic’s material nature is: the constitution of strands of atoms that split when heat is present. Thermoplastic’s structure nature eases the propensity of a melting state as well as a subsequent reconditioning ability. 

When looking at wires and cables as well as what type of insulation they are jacketed with, one can see not only polymers such as: Polyvinyl chloride (PVC), Polyurethane (PUR or PU), Polypropylene (PP); but also fluorocarbons such as: Tetrafluoroethylene (TFE); and copolymer hybrids of tetrafluoroethylene (TFE) and hexafluoropropylene (HFP) such as: Fluorinated Ethylene Propylene (FEP). Such insulations and jacketing of these sorts are frequently utilized in robotic systems as well as in mass produced applications. A great characteristic of thermoplastic insulation cable and wire is that when processed, due to its nature, stripping is uncomplicated. 

Thermoset, what is it? 

The best way to describe the composition of thermoset material is: polymer constructions that are hardened to produce organic or inorganic rubber substances, frequently using light, heat or chemicals. Meaning they don’t melt! Subsequently, in the course of the thermoset curing, polymer chains cross-link with additional molecules, resulting in a cross-link substance. 

The letters “XL” are used to identify cross-linked materials such as XLPVC referring to cross-linked polyvinyl chloride. Natural rubber, Styrene Butadiene Rubber (SBR), Ethylene Propylene Diene Monomer (EPDM), Silicone Rubber (SR), Neoprene (NPR) and Hypalon are examples of thermoset insulation materials applied onto wires and cables do to the fact that they don’t disintegrate when they are put into high heat settings and as a result are frequently employed in them to avoid problems. 

What are their similarities? 

Despite the operation of thermosets being superior than that of thermoplastics in high heat settings, one must not solely contemplate temperature ratings and resistance because the thermoset material’s malleability and orientation is superior to thermoplastics in colder temperatures. Yet after hearing this, counting thermoplastics out of the race wouldn’t be wise as this insulation is much more cost-effective, much less heavy, much simpler to apply pigment onto, and lastly offers greater electrical attributes. 

Z-Tronix Thermoplastic and Thermoset Insulation Wire Solutions 

To learn more about the various insulation and jacket substances our wires and cables have, click on our bulk wire and cable section or simply click the button below. If you have any questions regarding insulations as well as anything wire or cable related, please don’t hesitate in calling and speaking with one of our many Z-Tronix wire and cable experts today!