What is Teflon™?

An Introduction to Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE): Definition, History, Properties, Uses & Applications, Fact

 

Introduction to PTFE: What is it?

Did you know that the material used on NASA’s rocket ships is the same material used on your stain-proof couch? This is because of a chemical called polytetrafluoroethylene or PTFE. This substance is a synthetic fluoropolymer, a type of plastic used for countless purposes. 

Although the name of PTFE’s chemical compound might sound unfamiliar, you might know it for its reputable “non-stick” characteristic. Its common application is coating the product or equipment, then baking it until it creates a waterproof, non-corrosive, non-reactive, and non-stick barrier to outside elements. 

This class of plastics is widely used all over the world, from the roller sleeves on large industrial machines to everyday household items such as pots and pans. 

 

The Unique Properties of PTFE

In 1938, an American scientist named Roy J. Plunkett accidentally stumbled across this novel polymer when he was working on creating a non-toxic refrigerant. 

Although this experiment was first considered a failure, Plunkett realized that this white powder, PTFE (eventually branded as Teflon™), had some remarkable properties:

  1. Heat and Cold Resistant: 

PTFE can withstand extreme temperatures between approximately -400 to 500 degrees Fahrenheit (-240 to 260 degrees Celsius), and is of excellent quality for protecting your equipment. 

The equipment is prevented from burning, melting, or having ice freeze over it.

2.  Non – Stick/ Non – wetting: 

This quality is due to PTFE being hydrophobic, meaning it can resist being dissolved by water molecules. It allows surfaces coated in this material to be extremely easy to clean compared to other plastic barriers. 

This also applies to most liquids, such as water or oil, so you would not have to worry about rusting or liquids impacting the function of your equipment. 

3.  Chemical Resistant: 

PTFE is unreactive with most chemicals, which prevents surfaces coated in it from breaking down or corroding. This material is excellent for protecting machinery or pipes, which can often come in contact with toxic substances.

4.  Low Friction:

When ranking every solid material in the world, PTFE has the third-lowest coefficient of friction at an estimate of 0.04 COH. 

This property allows products or materials to slide smoothly over the surface of PTFE. It is often applicable in industrial and mass production, where machines coated in PTFE can manufacture products such as textiles, paper, or food at a maximized speed.

5.  High Dielectric Strength:

A high dielectric strength correlates directly with high insulation. Coatings made of PTFE serve as a great electrical insulator, although it would also depend on its thickness and conditions of the environment. 

This ability to insulate equipment at relatively high voltages can protect it from electrical damage. For example, in textile industries, machinery coated in PTFE can significantly reduce static in the cloth.

6.  Extreme Durability: 

The strong durability of plastics made of PTFE allows it to resist scratching and rough abrasion, giving coated equipment to last much longer.

In the long run, this can help companies and homes save money because equipment protected by this material will not have to be cleaned or replaced as often because the quality of the material has been enhanced.

PTFE is an extremely versatile material and can be used for numerous purposes, from daily products to uncommon machinery. It is important to keep in mind that different grade levels of PTFE and slight modifications can contribute to specializing it for different purposes. In addition,  plastics or coatings made of PTFE can also be adjusted to different equipment’s unique shapes and sizes.

Fluoron was founded by Randall Frank Chapman and his father, Frank M. Chapman, a recognized pioneer in the fluoropolymer plastic industry.  Fluoron has been using PTFE since 1988 and has recruited quality experts along the way. We hold several patents, such as welding PTFE together and manufacturing particular PTFE components. We have also developed anti-static heat-shrinkable PTFE sleeves, applicable to the pulp and paper, manufacturing, textiles, marine, aerospace industries and more, that have an issue with static interfering production processes. 

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) 800-785-4491 and explore our website for further inquiries.

Article Written by:
Tina Li