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Encyclopedia > PTFE

Teflon is the brand name of a polymer compound discovered by Roy J. Plunkett (1910-1994) of DuPont in 1938 and introduced as a commercial product in 1946.

Teflon is polytetrafluoroethene (PTFE).

 F F | | R - C - C - R | | F F 

Teflon is also used as the trade name for a polymer with similar properties, perfluoroalkoxy polymer resin (PFA):

 F F F F | | | | R - C - C - C - C - R | | | | F F F O | F - C - F | F 

Teflon has the lowest coefficient of friction of any solid material known to man. It is used as a non-stick coating for pans and other cookware. Teflon is very unreactive, and so is often used in containers and pipework for reactive chemicals. Its melting point is 327 C.

Teflon is sometimes said to be a spin-off from the US space program with more down-to-earth applications, but actually its first significant use was in the Manhattan Project, as a material to contain highly-reactive uranium hexafluoride. It was first sold commercially in 1946.

Teflon has been supplemented with another DuPont product, Silverstone, a three-coat fluoropolymer system that produces a more durable finish than Teflon. Silverstone was released in 1976.

Amongst many other industrial applications, Teflon is used to coat certain types of hardened, armour-piercing bullets, so as to reduce the amount of wear on the firearm's rifling. These are often mistakenly referred to as "cop-killer" bullets on account of Teflon's supposed ability to ease a bullet's passage through bullet-proof armour. Any armour-piercing effect is, however, purely a function of the bullet's velocity and rigidity rather than a property of Teflon.

Teflon has been implicated in cancer, though DuPont denies any association.

External links

  • DuPont's History of Teflon (http://www.dupont.com/teflon/newsroom/history.html)
  • Chemical Achievers: Roy J. Plunkett (http://www.chemheritage.org/EducationalServices/chemach/pop/rjp.html)
  • Dave Kopel on "cop-killers" (http://www.nationalreview.com/kopel/kopel200403010926.asp)
  • Teflon is toxic to pet birds" (http://www.ewg.org/reports/toxicteflon/)
  • Thermolysis of fluoropolymers as a potential source of halogenated organic acids in the environment (http://www.nature.com/cgi-taf/DynaPage.taf?file=/nature/journal/v412/n6844/abs/412321a0_fs.html)
  • If Teflon is nonsticky, how do they get it to stick to the pan? (http://www.straightdope.com/classics/a4_173.html) (from The Straight Dope)

  Results from FactBites:
Fuel cell membrane electrode assemblies with improved power outputs and poison resistance - Patent 6300000 (18806 words)
The Pt/skived PTFE was hot pressed against the membrane to bond the Pt evaporated layer to the membrane by the decal method.
The electrocatalyst zone was coated at a deposition rate averaging 6.ANG./sec as measured with a vibrating crystal microbalance to the specified target loading, with a magnetron power ranging of 250-500 W, 490-570 V dc bias, and 450-900 mA Ar.sup.+ flux.
Electrode elements such as ELAT gas diffusion media and 6 mil skived PTFE sheets were placed in a vacuum chamber.(1.5 m diameter, 2 m long) which was pumped down to ca.
Fluorotherm - Properties (326 words)
Melt Temperature: PTFE - Does not melt, softens at 625 deg F, FEP - 500 deg F
PTFE, being a homopolymer, has the best thermal and best chemical resistance compared to copolymers.
In general PTFE has a tensile strength 15% to 20% lower than FEP; however, this difference may narrow at higher operating temperatures due to the higher sensitivity of FEP to increase to temperature.
  More results at FactBites »



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