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A guide to fluoropolymer chemical etching

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In addition to being highly resistant to heat and chemicals, fluoroplastics also have low friction properties. This makes them ideal as a non-stick material for use in a myriad of both everyday and more specialised applications spanning various industries.

For this reason, fluoroplastics really are all around us. You might already be familiar with their usage as a non-stick coating for food processing equipment and cookware, and this non-stick ability also makes them perfect for factory and industrial settings.

Because almost nothing can stick to fluoroplastics, it is extremely hard for bacteria to build up on the material. Not only does this minimise bacterial contamination in a food and beverage production environment, but it also reduces the likelihood of infection in a medical setting, making it ideal for use within medical instruments such as catheters and artificial heart valves.

However, there are also times when you need fluoroplastics to be strong and resilient, but still attach it to other items and components. To get around fluoroplastic’s inherent non-stick capabilities, the solution is to chemically etch the surface before bonding.

How can fluoropolymer etching help you?

If you are looking for a material which can withstand extreme temperatures and maintain its integrity over time, but you need to attach it to another material, then fluoroplastic etching is the perfect solution.

Etching involves immersing fluoroplastic material in a chemical solution to alter its molecular makeup and make it more malleable.

It is a unique and clever chemical process which works by stripping fluorine molecules from the carbon backbone of a fluoropolymer, leaving less electrons around its carbon atom. When exposed to the air, hydrogen, water and oxygen molecules work together to restore the electrons, which then prompts a group of organic molecules to form hydrogen and bond with each other – which ultimately enables adhesion.

Simply put, through chemical etching we can alter the surface of fluoroplastic material to remove its non-stick characteristics, which enables it to be bonded together with other materials.

And brilliantly, because etching only affects the very top layer of a fluoropolymer, all the material’s other capabilities, such as resistance to bacteria, stability over time and the ability to withstand extreme temperatures, remain intact.

This means that etched fluoroplastic can be used in an even wider array of scenarios than non-etched.

Our fluoroplastic etching services

At Adtech, our chemical etching process is excellently suited for use with a diverse range of fluoropolymer including:

Depending on your project, perhaps you only require the inside or outside surface of a material to be etched. In this case, we can control the application of the etch by masking off a specific area so that the etch is only present in the area which you need bonded.

We can also offer:

  • Inside Diameter (ID) and Outside Diameter (OD) for a set length

  • ID or OD only

  • ID and OD

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

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