PTFE 101: The Basic Facts about TeflonŽ
Although it's been around for nearly seven decades, Teflon® coating services remains highly popular for a variety of applications. Teflon® production surpassed 240,000 tons by the year 2017. Back in the late 40s, only about 900 tons of the substance were produced.
What are PTFE coatings?
PTFE coating is a fluorocarbon solid, making it resistant to corrosive chemicals and extreme temperatures for both hot and cold, UV ray resistant, and low friction. It also provides good insulation from electricity and doesn't absorb water. Its legacy in industrial applications spans over 80 years. Continue reading for how PTFE is made, its history, and how it is used today.
Teflon® coatings have a number of properties that make it useful to many industries. PTFE coatings are resistant to corrosive chemicals, provides good insulation from electricity, doesn't absorb water, can withstand extremes of heat and cold, resists UV rays, and creates little friction. Many industrial Teflon® coatings can withstand temperatures as low as -250ºF without loss of physical properties and can operate continuously at temperatures up to 260°C/500°F.
In addition to its uses in cookware, industrial Teflon® coatings are often used in the automotive industry, cabling materials, optical devices, pharmaceutical applications, pipes, valves, and more. Companies interested in how Teflon® can work with their products should contact Orion Industries, a DuPont Licensed Industrial Applicator that specializes in applying industrial Teflon® coatings to various products.
History of PTFE Coating Services
PTFE's discovery was a happy accident. In the late 1930s, Roy Plunkett discovered PTFE while working as a chemist for Kinetic Chemicals. Plunkett was trying to develop a new refrigerant, but while working with gases he developed a waxy white covering that was slippery. Subsequent tests revealed several possible uses for Plunkett's new substance, and it was subsequently patented in 1941 and trademarked as Teflon® in 1945.
The new substance quickly found a variety of uses, and by 1948 Kinetic Chemicals' parent company, DuPont, was manufacturing more than 2 million pounds of it each year. Teflon® was used in the Manhattan Project to coat valves and seals in pipes storing uranium hexafluoride, and by the 1960s it was commonly being used as non-stick coating in kitchen cookware.
Over time, PTFE coatings have been further refined. In the 1990s, manufacturers began radiation cross-linking it to allow it to be more easily recycled.
How a PTFE Coating Works
A PTFE coating's unique makeup is what provides it with the non-stick, non-friction, and dielectric properties that make it useful in so many applications. Teflon® coating is a fluorocarbon solid, meaning that it has a high molecular weight made up solely of carbon and fluorine. This make up makes it resistant to water, gives it a low friction co-efficient, and makes its other useful properties possible.
Uses of PTFE Coatings
While most people think of skillets and pots when they think of Teflon® coatings, the truth is that half of all PTFE production is used for wiring in aircraft and computers. PTFE's dielectric properties and high melting temperature make it ideal for insulation cables and connector assemblies. Printed circuit boards used at microwave frequencies also often use PTFE as insulation. Good insulation is vital to safety, and that's why so many industries trust PTFE.
PTFE coating services are also frequently used to coat the inside of fuel and hydraulic lines. Because fluids may flow slowly in colder temperatures and higher altitudes, PTFE coating's low-friction coefficient makes it helpful in ensuring these substances continue to flow as needed.
With regard to industrial applications, Teflon® coating's low friction is helpful in applications where parts may slide against one another, such as gears, slide plates, etc. A PTFE coating performs far better than other coatings, such as nylon and acetal, in these applications.
In food and beverage industries, Teflon® coating services are useful when a non-stick surface is needed. Its high resistance to heat is also beneficial in cookware, as it will not degrade when placed in ovens or on cooking surfaces.
With regard to medical applications and laboratory research, PTFE coating for pipes, tubes, and vessels is helpful in that PTFE can be treated to become highly resistant to chemical corrosion and contamination by microbes. This helps ensure that biomedical applications and research projects are accurate, untainted, and safe.
Orion Industries Ltd. engineers can work with industries to determine whether a PTFE coating would be beneficial to their products. Specialized industrial Teflon® coatings can provide cost-effective and helpful insulation and protection to a wide variety of purposes. In addition to Teflon®, Orion Industries can apply a variety of other coatings to products as appropriate.
While Teflon® coating services may not be appropriate for every project, for many applications in a wide variety of fields, it's the No. 1 choice for a non-stick, water resistant, dielectric coating.
PTFE, or Teflon®, coatings provide protection against water, corrosion, friction, and more. In the 70 years since its discovery, a variety of industries have come to view Teflon® as the go-to coating for thousands of applications.
Bio: Orion Industries, Ltd, a DuPont Licensed Industrial Applicator, applies Teflon® coatings and more than 500 other proven functional coatings to a wide variety of products. Orion Industries works with manufacturers to determine the right coating for their products and can quickly turnaround prototypes. An ISO 9001:2008 registered, DuPont Licensed Industrial Applicator of industrial Teflon® coatings and other coatings, Orion's modern facilities allow it to quickly and reliably produce coated products.