What is the difference between FEP, PFA, & PTFE? Facts, Properties, Comparison 

FEP, PFA, and PTFE are all common types of fluoroplastics widely used all over the world. But what sets these plastics apart from one another? Exploring the differences between the three fluoroplastics can help with selecting the best application for your needs. 

Fluoroplastics Definition and Unique Properties

Fluoroplastics are a class of plastics where the hydrogen atoms in a molecule are replaced with fluorine atoms, giving them a unique set of properties. The most common fluoroplastics include FEP, PFA, and PTFE, all of which share these characteristics:

  • Resistant to extreme temperatures
  • Low friction surfaces
  • Non-stick and waterproof
  • High chemical resistance
  • High electrical resistance

The properties listed above make fluoroplastics excellent for medical, industrial, electrical, and domestic applications. Their application can yield optimal performance, maintain the quality of many different products, and drastically reduce costs in the long run. However, it is important to choose the correct fluoroplastic and application to achieve these benefits. 

To cater to your needs, learn more about our options for fluoroplastic coatings!

Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE)

PTFE is the original fluoroplastic first discovered by DuPont scientist Roy J Plunkett in 1938 and introduced to the market in 1946. These are the qualities that differentiates it from other fluoroplastics:

  • Extreme temperature resistance (-240 to 260+ degrees Celsius)
  • Resistant to almost every chemical
  • Milky white color
  • Extremely non-stick
  • Low friction

PTFE’s extreme resistance to high temperatures can play a downside in melting and molding the plastic by making the process more difficult. 

But once it is applied, it can offer the best insulation against heat, freezing, chemicals, and electricity for machinery and other products, as well as ease cleaning and production processes. It is most beneficial for withstanding tough environments with lots of abrasion, extreme temperatures, and pressure.

Fluorinated Ethylene Propylene(FEP)

FEP is a substance similar to PTFE, but with a reduced crystallinity of 204 degrees Celsius and a melt viscosity over a million times lower than PTFE. These differences make FEP easier to melt and process than PTFE, allowing it to be quickly re-moulded or shaped.

 

The unique qualities of FEP include those listed for fluoroplastics above, as well as these qualities which set them apart from other fluoroplastics:

 

  • Easier to melt, mold, and shape than PTFE
  • Temperature resistance between -200 to 200+ degrees Celsius (lower melting temperature)
  • Higher flexibility
  • Bio-compatible
  • UV resistant
  • Transparent in color

 

Due to FEP’s lower melting temperature, it can be applied to smaller products that may be more sensitive to lower or higher temperatures. This allows FEP to be most beneficial for smaller machinery or instruments, such as small medical products or food packing industries.

 

Perfluoroalkoxy (PFA)

 

PFAs main distinguishable quality as a fluoroplastic is that it is melt-processed, whereas PTFE requires unconventional methods of molding because of its extreme temperature resistance. 

 

  • Slightly lower melt temperature than PTFE
  • Higher flexibility
  • Less folding endurance than PTFE (capacity to endure repetitive folding)
  • More affected by weathering than PTFE
  • Bio-compatible
  • Transparent in color

 

PFA is generally used for producing plastic lab equipment, sheet lining lab equipment, or tubing due to its resistance to corrosion, transparency, nonstick property, and flexibility. These qualities allow it to be used for medical and lab purposes involving biogenic substances to prevent contamination. 

 

Fluoron was founded by Randall Frank Chapman and his father, Frank M. Chapman, a recognized pioneer in the fluoropolymer plastic industry. We have been using fluoroplastic products since 1988 and have recruited quality experts along the way. We also hold several patents, such as welding PTFE together and manufacturing particular PTFE components. 

Fluoron has developed anti-static heat-shrinkable fluoroplastic sleeves, applicable to any textile factories or industries that have an issue with static interfering production processes. With a wide selection of products produced with PTFE, FEP, or PFA, we have the resources to cater to your specific fluoroplastic needs.

If you are looking for a non-stick solution or need a quick, quality cleaning service for your industrial machines, we have the resources to assist you in investing in longer term solutions to help you save. To learn more about Fluoron’s non-stick products and how we can help you solve your buildup problems, give us a call at (+1) 201-555-0123 and explore our website for further inquiries.

Article written by: Tina Li