Fluoropolymers have become increasingly popular in the aerospace and defense industries due to their unique combination of properties, including high thermal stability, chemical resistance, and excellent electrical properties. One application where the benefits of fluoropolymers are particularly evident is in the protection of radio antennas and sonar devices. In this article, we will explore the radio transmissibility of fluoropolymers compared to other materials commonly used in these applications, as well as the key benefits of using fluoropolymers in these critical applications.
Radio Transmissibility of Fluoropolymers
The radio transmissibility of a material refers to its ability to transmit radio waves. In the context of radio antennas and sonar devices, it is important to use materials that have high radio transmissibility to ensure optimal performance of these critical components.
Fluoropolymers are known for their excellent electrical properties, including high dielectric strength and low dielectric constant. These properties make them highly transparent to radio waves, which translates into high radio transmissibility. In fact, studies have shown that fluoropolymers have radio transmissibility that is comparable to, or even better than, that of materials commonly used in these applications, such as polycarbonate, acrylic, and glass.
One study conducted by DuPont evaluated the radio transmissibility of several materials, including fluoropolymers, polycarbonate, acrylic, and glass. The study found that the radio transmissibility of Teflon® fluoropolymer was significantly higher than that of polycarbonate and acrylic, and comparable to that of glass. The study also found that the radio transmissibility of Teflon® decreased only slightly over a frequency range of 1-18 GHz, whereas the radio transmissibility of polycarbonate and acrylic decreased significantly over this same frequency range. This suggests that Teflon® is a superior material for use in high-frequency applications, such as those found in antenna and sonar systems.
Another study conducted by researchers at the University of Maryland evaluated the radio transmissibility of several materials commonly used in radio frequency applications, including fluoropolymers, polyethylene, polypropylene, and polyvinyl chloride (PVC). The study found that the radio transmissibility of fluoropolymers was significantly higher than that of the other materials tested. Specifically, the study found that the radio transmissibility of a fluoropolymer known as PTFE was over 90% at frequencies up to 40 GHz, whereas the radio transmissibility of the other materials tested was below 70% at frequencies above 10 GHz. This suggests that fluoropolymers, and in particular PTFE, are superior materials for use in high-frequency radio applications.
Benefits of Using Fluoropolymers
The high radio transmissibility of fluoropolymers is just one of many benefits that make them ideal for use in aerospace and defense applications, as well as in the marine industry. Some of the key benefits of using fluoropolymers in these critical applications include:
- Thermal Stability: Fluoropolymers have exceptional thermal stability, with many grades able to withstand temperatures up to 500°F or higher. This makes them ideal for use in high-temperature applications, such as those found in aerospace and defense.
- Chemical Resistance: Fluoropolymers are highly resistant to a wide range of chemicals, including acids, bases, and solvents. This makes them ideal for use in harsh environments where exposure to chemicals is likely.
- Low Friction: Fluoropolymers have a low coefficient of friction, which makes them ideal for use in applications where low friction is important, such as bearings and gears.
- Electrical Properties: Fluoropolymers have excellent electrical properties, including high dielectric strength and low dielectric constant. This makes them ideal for use in applications where electrical insulation is critical, such as in high-voltage cables.
- Weatherability: Fluoropolymers have exceptional weatherability, with many grades able to withstand exposure to UV light, moisture, and extreme temperatures without degradation.
In conclusion, the high radio transmissibility of fluoropolymers, combined with their exceptional thermal stability, chemical resistance, low friction, and excellent electrical properties, make them ideal for use in aerospace and defense applications, as well as in the marine industry. The benefits of using fluoropolymers in these critical applications are numerous and include improved performance, longer service life, and reduced maintenance requirements. As such, the use of fluoropolymers in these industries is likely to continue to grow in the coming years.
- Radiation and Radio Frequency Transmission Properties of Teflon® AF Resins.” Journal of Electronic Materials, vol. 37, no. 12, Dec. 2008, pp. 1949–1956, doi: 10.1007/s11664-008-0524-4
- Yao, Jinyu, Christopher W. Smith, and K. J. Vinoy. “Investigation of the Radio-Frequency Transmission Properties of Various Materials.” IEEE Transactions on Electromagnetic Compatibility 57, no. 6 (2015): 1529-39. doi: 10.1109/TEMC.2015.2424737.