Connections Blog

PFA – Insulation/Jacket Material Spotlight

Perfluoroalkoxy, typically referred to as PFA, is a fluoropolymer commonly used as both an insulation and jacket material for wire and cable. It was the first fluoropolymer developed to be extruded. Similar to the more often used FEP (Fluorinated Ethylene Propylene), PFA’s strengths make it a superior choice for certain applications.

Industrial high temperature work siteOne reason to choose PFA for wire and cable insulation or jacketing is if the application is a high temperature environment. Whereas other fluoropolymers are only rated to 200°C, PFA can withstand temperatures up to 260°C. It exhibits mechanical strength at high temperatures superior to FEP and other fluoropolymers. The higher temperature properties make it hold up longer against heat cycles that might otherwise cause stress cracks. For this reason, PFA is the preferred compound for multi-conductor cables that are sterilized in medical applications via autoclaving.

PFA is also a great choice for low temperature applications, where it maintains useful properties down to temperatures of -200°C. PFA is known for its low-temperature toughness.

Another benefit of PFA is that it can be extruded with very thin walls, due to its dielectric constant. Therefore, the wire will take up significantly less room when bundled together as a cable or grouped together as leads in a wiring harness. It is commonly the material of choice for miniature signal wire applications.

Mechanical toughness is another bonus when choosing PFA as an insulation and jacket material. The low coefficient of friction of PFA allows “pull” installation of long wire lengths, making installation more efficient.  Additionally, PFA can withstand harsh chemicals. When exposed to most industrial solvents and chemicals, PFA is inert.

Galaxy Wire & Cable has been supplying PFA wire and cable for decades and recognizes applications where PFA should be recommended.  Please contact Galaxy to see if PFA is a good choice for your application.