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The Properties, Benefits & Uses of PTFE

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PTFE, or Polytetrafluoroethylene, is the grandfather of fluoroplastics, a group of high-performance plastics with unique properties. Discovered by the scientist Roy J. Plunkett in 1938, PTFE, also known as Teflon®, is the most unusual fluoropolymer and exhibits the best performance in terms of temperature, chemical resistance and non-stick properties.

What are the properties of PTFE?

While a plastic molecule contains a carbon chain with hydrogen atoms attached, in a Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) structure, the hydrogen atoms are replaced with fluorine atoms. This dramatically changes the property of the material and PTFE, like other fluoroplastics, has special properties:

  • Very high working temperatures

  • Non-stick characteristic

  • Low friction surface

  • Very high resistance to chemicals and solvents

  • Very high electrical resistance

  • Resistance to weather, UV light and corrosion

  • Inert, non-toxic and bio-compatible

Find out more about PTFE’s technical properties in the PTFE material data sheet.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of PTFE?

PTFE is the most unusual fluoropolymer and exhibits the best performance in terms of temperature, chemical resistance and non-stick properties. In addition, PTFE also enjoys the following benefits:

  • Best price : performance ratio

  • Continuous working temperature of +260°C - This is the highest working temperature for any fluoroplastic

  • Resistance to nearly all chemicals

  • Low friction surface - Even a gecko would slip on PTFE

  • Very high electrical resistance

  • Translucent colour (when the correct raw polymer grade is chosen)

The main disadvantage of PTFE is that it does not actually melt when heated and is therefore difficult to process. Very unconventional techniques are needed to mould, extrude and weld this fluoropolymer.

What is PTFE used for?

Thanks to its extraordinary properties, PTFE is able to endure even the harshest of environments and as such, is suitable for use in numerous applications. This fluoroplastic is ideal for use in the food and drink production, from cooking equipment to food coverings, conveyor belt rollers, temperature sensor casing and non-stick surface covers.

In the chemical industry, PTFE can be used to make different products, from gaskets to vessel linings and chemical tanks. PTFE is also widely used in high temperature applications, from fire critical applications to terminal insulation on heating elements and jet engines, UV lamps and external aircraft fittings.

PTFE material is ideal for use in medical applications and for the production of internal and external life-saving equipment such as catheters, bio-containment vessels, syringes and sutures. This unique fluoropolymer is also perfect for electrical insulation and the protection of electronic components.

Fluoropolymers are also woven into our daily lives in hundreds of ways. In the home, non-stick pans are made using PTFE, most razors contain a PTFE-based anti-friction coating and electrical devices, from smartphones to laptops, include PTFE-insulated components.

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

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