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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Equipment/Sanitation > Reopening the Silicone vs Thermoplastic tubing discussions
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Old 09-01-2011, 07:07 AM   #1
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Default Reopening the Silicone vs Thermoplastic tubing discussions

Hey folks,

I was hoping to reopen the ongoing conversation regarding the use of thermoplastic versus silicone tubing? Tubing will be used on the brew rig; for transferring boiling wort and cleaner, while connected to the pump.

Silicone seems to be-
Pros: best quality, higher temp rated, clear enough to see wort flow.
Cons: Prone to possible suction closure, costs over $2/foot.

Thermoplastic seems to be like silicone lite-
Pros: good quality, possibly stronger than silicone and about $1.50/foot.
Cons: opaque, lower temp rating.
Question: Is it so opaque you can't see wort in the tubing?

Alright, that's the extent of my knowledge. Would you guys mind throwing out your opinions and experiences? Is the extra cost of Silicone justified?

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Old 09-01-2011, 01:51 PM   #2
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I have some of both, and honestly I don't think you can go wrong with either. To answer your question you can't see through the thermoplastic, but you also can't see well enough through the silicone tubing to check things like color/wort clarity/etc. Neither one of them gives you the visibility of vinyl tubing.

The silicone is neat because you can stretch it, over a fitting for example. The thermoplastic has a nice rigidity that can come in handy too though.

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Old 09-01-2011, 02:19 PM   #3
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Silicone if properly cared for will last a long time and that negates the price comparison with Vinyl tubing. As to Thermoplastic I've not used it in brewing because of the visibility issues.
With the Silicone I can bake it or boil it to sanitize and pushing it on to a large barb is so easy that I'm sticking with it. Thick walled Silicone does not close due to suction at the pressures we generally use.

cons for me - only issue I've ever had is when pumping hot liquids the tubing can collapse easily if the run is not looped to avoid the kink. A bit of planning avoids this.

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Old 09-01-2011, 04:31 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EBloom97
I have some of both, and honestly I don't think you can go wrong with either. To answer your question you can't see through the thermoplastic, but you also can't see well enough through the silicone tubing to check things like color/wort clarity/etc. Neither one of them gives you the visibility of vinyl tubing.

The silicone is neat because you can stretch it, over a fitting for example. The thermoplastic has a nice rigidity that can come in handy too though.
I really only want to see through it enough to know if the pump is ready to prime. Does thermoplastic's opacity prevent even this?
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Old 09-01-2011, 04:34 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by samc
cons for me - only issue I've ever had is when pumping hot liquids the tubing can collapse easily if the run is not looped to avoid the kink. A bit of planning avoids this.
I'm a little unclear on what you mean here. This is probably what I've heard about when I referenced suction collapse.
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Old 09-01-2011, 04:35 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EBloom97 View Post
The silicone is neat because you can stretch it, over a fitting for example. The thermoplastic has a nice rigidity that can come in handy too though.
This can be a big deal. I use thermoplastic tubing with QDs, but needed to use silicon tubing for my pump inlet and outlet because I needed to stretch the tubing over an oversized fitting.
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Old 09-01-2011, 05:19 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HitTheTwit View Post
I really only want to see through it enough to know if the pump is ready to prime. Does thermoplastic's opacity prevent even this?
Yeah, you can't see through thermoplastic at all. With the silicone you can see through it enough to see that there is or is not liquid in it.
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Old 09-01-2011, 07:14 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by HitTheTwit View Post
I'm a little unclear on what you mean here. This is probably what I've heard about when I referenced suction collapse.
If I try to make too sharp a bend coming out of the pump outlet the hose will kink shut when hot. I have to remember to loop it gently and then all is well.
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Old 09-01-2011, 07:16 PM   #9
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Gotcha. Can you let gravity put a nice curve on the tubing or do you need some sort of tube holding system put into place?

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Old 09-01-2011, 07:23 PM   #10
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I pulled the braided ss outer shell off of PTFE fuel line. It's translucent, rigid and works really well. I can't tell the clarity of the wort, but certainly can tell the SRM.
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