History

The story of PTFE began on April 6, 1938, at DuPont's Jackson Laboratory in New Jersey. DuPont chemist, Dr. Roy J. Plunkett, was working with gases related to Freon refrigerants, another DuPont product. Upon checking a frozen, compressed sample of tetrafluoroethylene, he and his associates discovered that the sample had polymerised spontaneously into a white, waxy solid to form polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE). The Teflon© trademark was coined by DuPont and registered in 1945; the first products were sold commercially under the trademark beginning in 1946.

 
   
Physics and chemistry

PTFE consists of long chains of carbon atoms fully saturated by fluorine atoms. The carbon-fluorine bonds are extremely strong, and the carbon bonds are well shielded by the fluorine atoms. This shielding of the carbon bonds is responsible for chemical resistance and the properties of the closely packed fluorine atoms on the outside for the physical properties.

 
   
Applications

Very few solid substances will permanently adhere to a PTFE finish. So anything from non-stick pans to bridge bearings can and is, of course, covered very often by PTFE.

PTFE is normally unaffected by chemicals. The only chemicals known to affect PTFE industrial coatings are molten alkali metals and highly reactive fluorinating agents. Thus it is used for about anything where resistance is required.

Furthermore, PTFE coatings can operate at temperatures up to 260°C.

 
 
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