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Bonding fluoroplastics with chemical etching


Fluoropolymers, invaluable for their versatility and consistency, are celebrated for their non-stick qualities. However, this creates a problem if you need to bond a fluoroplastic component to another surface.

Fortunately, Adtech have devised a solution to this problem using a process called chemical etching.

How does chemical etching work?

Chemical etching is very useful in that it allows the intrinsic qualities of fluoropolymers products (such as heat resistance and a non-stick texture) to be maintained.

Very cleverly, fluoroplastic etching works by stripping the fluorine molecules from the carbon backbone of the fluoropolymer, leaving a deficiency of electrons around the carbon atom. Exposure to air, hydrogen, oxygen molecules and water vapour then allows the electrons surrounding the carbon atom to be restored, resulting in a group of new organic molecules which allow successful adhesion to take place. Once bonded, the etched material will then be brown in colour (although the shade varies depending on the exact material used).

What are the advantages of fluoroplastic etching?

By changing the fluoropolymer properties on a molecular level, the etching process makes it possible for fluoroplastic materials to be tightly bonded to other surfaces for all sorts of uses and applications, using adhesives such as polyurethanes, epoxy resins and silicone RTVs. So, in practical terms, etching is extremely useful.

Fluoroplastic etching gives our fluoropolymers an additional string to their bow whilst maintaining the integrity of the product.

During the process of fluoroplastic etching, only the very top layer of the fluoroplastic is altered, which means that all the original qualities of the product are maintained.

Using chemical etching for your applications

Fluoroplastic etching is targeted and very precise, so no matter the type of fluoroplastic component you are looking to produce, we can meet your specific needs.

Chemically etched fluoroplastics are easy to care for. To prevent the product’s adhesive properties from degrading due to prolonged exposure to oxygen and UV light, simply keep them well wrapped and in a dark place.

Chemical etching now means that Adtech can supply fluoroplastic materials that can be bonded to other materials, making them ideal for use in an extremely wide range of scenarios.

As a process, etching is ideal for use with our fluoropolymer tubing and heat shrink sleeving in FEP, PFA, and PTFE  and for FEP roll covers or rubber hose lining applications.

Here at Adtech, we are specialists in delivering innovative fluoropolymer solutions for your technical applications. Find out more about our Chemical Etching service.

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