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The Magic Of PTFE

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By Edited Nov 13, 2013 1 0

PTFE sounds like an abbreviated form for some impressive chemical substance and it is: the acronym is short for poly tetra fluoro ethylene and while you may be wondering what on earth that is used to make, here’s something that will probably surprise you: PTFE is what the world more commonly knows as Teflon.

That’s right, the very Teflon that has been living in your kitchen for years and helping you cook, the same Teflon that makes it possible to cook lovely eggs without having a sticky, gooey mess on the bottom of your saucepan. In other words, PTFE is the famed non-stick coating on your pots and pans, and Teflon is the brand name that it is marketed and sold under.

PTFE is quite the interesting and versatile substance and the story behind its discovery is equally interesting. It was discovered by a scientist called Roy Plunkett who during an experiment, noted that tetra fluoro ethylene gas had stopped flowing in the pressure bottle it had been placed in, but the bottle still appeared to have something it because of the weight that could be measured. When Plunkett sawed the bottle apart, he found a white substance in it. When this substance was tested, it turned out to be per fluoro ethylene that was polymerized.

The versatile material’s many uses were gradually discovered when more tests were done to find out the properties of PTFE. It is resistant to vander Waals forces, is dielectric and doesn’t have a memory that retains. These excellent properties of just this one material revolutionized the world of cooking and helped change things for the better in other industries as well.

In fact PTFE is now used so commonly that it is almost a guarantee that almost every home in America has PTFE stacked away in some form, without even knowing about it probably. Obviously the most famed use of PTFE is in cookware; more specifically it is used as the non-stick substance that makes cooking so much easier and less messy.

It’s also the reason why some of your cookware is so expensive, but that’s beside the point here. The non-stick property of PTFE also means that it is now used extensively in the transportation industry. For instance, it is used to manufacture wiper blades and more importantly, its stain resistant technology allows the production of products that can help protect the interior of your motor vehicles making sure that its resale value is preserved. PTFE is also used to make all-terrain wheels. These are more expensive than normal wheels but obviously the money is well worth it.

PTFE is also quite smooth and reduces friction which is why it is absolutely perfect when it comes to the marine industry. I’m referring here to the fact that it is used in powerboats and racing sail boats. Aside from this, PTFE is used in manufacturing paint and paint accessories.

For one thing it is used to make marvellous surface protector for paint, and now roller covers with PTFE surface protectors are also widely manufactured which ensure that paint sticks to the wall and none is wasted by sticking onto the roller itself. Paint brushes with PTFE surface protectors are also heavily favoured by artists everywhere.

Basically PTFE has redefined the ease with which things can be done in the modern world today.


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