In the world of tubing materials for diagnostic and analytical instrument development, two contenders stand out: fluoropolymers (like PTFE) and silicone. Each material possesses unique properties, and understanding their differences is crucial for optimal instrument development. Let’s delve into the distinctions between these tubing materials and explore examples where each is best utilized.

Fluoropolymers (commonly PTFE)

  • Fluoropolymers are semi-rigid materials and have great chemical compatibility, making them ideal for use with a wide range of reagents.
  • These materials have good non-stick properties, an important feature in the field of diagnostic and research testing as it helps prevent materials sticking to the tube, requiring less wash solution between sample runs.
  • At Arcmed, we use special types of fluoropolymers with excellent ID/OD concentricity and tight dimensional tolerances, assuring high-quality flares on our custom tubing assemblies, and low carryover throughout your instrument’s fluidic system.
  • Similarly, the tight tolerances of our tubing promote the best fluid flow, as the bore of the tube matches up more precisely to the bore of the port on an instrument.
  • Fluoropolymers are a great option for the reagent and sample modules of an analytical instrument, where chemical reactions take place. The tight size tolerances and smoothness of Arcmed’s fluoropolymer tubing allows your instrument to achieve accurate and precise test results.


  • Silicone tubing, favored for its flexibility, is also characterized by exceptional temperature resistance.
  • The extrusion of this material, however, does not achieve the same dimensional tolerances as most fluoropolymers.
  • Silicone is suitable for a wide range of uses, like pinch valves and peristaltic pumps, thanks to its flexibility. Additionally, this tubing is often used in the cleaning module and waste side of an analytical instrument, where flow precision and contamination are less critical.
  • At Arcmed, we use a unique type of silicone that ensures a long lifetime, increasing the productive time of your instrument and reducing service costs.

In conclusion, the distinctions between fluoropolymer, like PTFE, and silicone tubing determine their suitability for specific applications. Understanding these differences empowers instrument developers to make informed decisions, optimizing the performance and reliability of their designs. Consulting the unique requirements of your processes with industry experts is also key to selecting the most suitable tubing material. Arcmed has 30+ years of experience designing and building fluidic systems. Contact us today for more information on how we can leverage our tubing expertise to build your ideal system.


If you have any further questions about which tubing to use in your assembly, please reach out to our team.