Definition - What does Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) mean?
Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) refers to the synthetic fluoropolymer derived from tetrafluoroethylene. It is a solid form of fluorocarbon and a compound with elevated molecular weight. It consists mainly of fluorine and carbon. It is hydrophobic, which means that it cannot be made wet by substances containing water or by water itself. This is possible due to fluorine’s high electro-negativity and low levels of friction coefficients against all types of solids.
One of the most well-known PTFE brands is Teflon produced by DuPont Corporation.
Corrosionpedia explains Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE)
PTFE was discovered by accident by Roy Plunkett in 1983. He was working at Kinetic Chemicals based in New Jersey. In his attempt to come up with a fresh CFC refrigerant, he accidentally polymerized the perfluorethylene contained in the pressurized container with iron, and this formed a reaction that resulted in PTFE.
PTFE is typically used for coating cookware, such as pans, making them non-stick. This compound is non-reactive mainly because its carbon-fluoride contents are very strong. Due to this, it is also widely used in pipework and containers for chemicals that are corrosive or reactive. Moreover, PTFE is also utilized as a lubricant since it can greatly reduce wear, friction as well as the consumption of energy by machineries. Amazingly, it also plays a role in surgical interventions as a grafting material.
PTFE can be very beneficial in corrosion protection because it repels nearly everything, so molecules cannot get close enough to react with it. Hence, the bond that exists between the carbon atom and fluorine atom is immense, making it almost bullet resistant.
Industries can also benefit from PTFE as it can be used in machines where sliding parts are required, such as in gears, slide plates, bearings and more. It is preferred since it performs better than acetal and nylon.