When it comes to compounds, it can be difficult to identify for those who do not often work with certain substances, and even for those who do, it can certainly be a mouthful to use the full names of some of the substances and compounds that they work with. Take for example, polytetrafluoroethylene. Most people would have no idea what it is, but luckily these things are easily abbreviated for our convenience. Instead of stumbling through the linguistic acrobatic jungle of a word like polytetrafluoroethylene, it becomes much easier to talk about the compound best known for its applications in Teflon when it is shortened down to PTFE.
The vast and varied applications of PTFE coatings
Since its discovery back in 1938, there have continued to be discoveries for more and more ways in which the compound can be used. Just a few of these applications include use on fishing lines, a lubricant on the chain of a bicycle, as a coating on some bullets to reduce wear on the gun, applied medical coatings, and in fabrics and elements of sports medicine. From non-stick cookware to complex applications in the industry of aerospace, PTFE coatings are versatile and found in a multitude of places, some you may not even think to look or consider.
- A quick look at the multiple uses of PTFE coatings
- Computers and aerospace
The compound is perhaps most often used in cables and wires used for hookups. It has properties that make it a great electrical insulator which can, in the right electric conditions, be polarized.
- Industrial coating services
In mechanisms where there are sliding parts, PTFE coatings help in the manufacturing process where gears, plates, magnets, and bearings interact.
- In laboratories
PTFE has a pretty strong resistance to corrosion, which makes it ideal for the lining of containers and stirrers that will come into contact with acidic chemicals.
There are types of clothing like outdoor gear and professional blazers that need to be both breathable but also waterproof or stain-resistant, and PTFE in the fabric helps achieve this.
The most widely recognized use of PTFE
While the uses and applications of PTFE seem to be countless, most people would recognize it by its use as the widely known Teflon, or Plastic Material Polytetrafluoroethylene. It is created using hydrofluoric acid, fluorspar, and chloroform, which are mixed and then heated at the extreme temperatures of up to 900 degrees Celsius, which is about 1652 degrees Fahrenheit. The result is a compound that is fairly heat resistant, and because there is no attraction between it and water, it makes for the perfect cookware coating. While there are also more in depth industrial Teflon coatings and other applications, the familiarity of Teflon cookware helps people who are not in the industry make the connection. In fact in 2006, about 90% of all of the aluminum cookware that was sold had a coating of Teflon or something similar, and predictions put the production of Teflon over 240,000 tons very soon.
Whether you are hoping to find the perfect set of pots and pans for the ideal kitchen setup or you are interested in the intricate applications outside of cookware, finding out more about polytetrafluoroethylene (or the much simpler PTFE) will inevitably lead you down a fascinating rabbit trail as you discover more and more about the various applications. Deconstructing materials down to the compounds that they are made of and in turn what makes up those compounds can help you to understand in much greater detail the world around you. Read more blogs like this.