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Fundamental Structures and Properties of Teflon and Its Applications in Industry 1. Introduction
Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) also known as Teflon is a thermoplastic polymer. It is formed by addition polymerization using the monomer tetrafluroethylene (TFE). Teflon is a strong, waxy and non-flammable resin which is used in many applications especially in corrosive industries due to its resistance to chemicals. In addition, it is able to maintain its physical properties over a wide range of temperatures.
Teflon was invented by accident by a research chemist named Roy J. Plunkett at DuPont’s Jackson Lab in New Jersey on 6 April 1938. Plunkett and his technician assistant, Jack Rebok, were testing on the chemical reactions of the
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In addition, the CF2 groups are equally spaced along the chain which is twisted to form a helix to accommodate the large fluorine atoms to relieve overcrowding and having the shortest F-F distance. It provides stability to the fluorine to carbon bonds. As such, it is difficult to break a stable bond and this makes PTFE unreactive to many chemicals. This stable bonding structure also contributes to good dielectric properties. It prevents the transmission of electrons through the molecular orbital of PTFE and due to the strength of the carbon to fluorine bonds, electrons are not released easily from the polymer orbital. 3. Description of Industrial Applications of Teflon
Teflon is widely used in many industries due to its unique properties. In the petrochemical industries and chemical processing industries, Teflon is used for vessel linings, seals, gaskets, spacers, pump interiors, washers, dip tubes and well-drilling components. This is due to PTFE is chemically inert, resistant to corrosion and functions in environments of 500 degrees Fahrenheit. Also, PTFE are used in refrigeration systems and steams line. PTFE hoses are used to transfer chemicals and connectors and lines for product interchange. Teflon replaces the typical corrugated, stainless steel hoses.
For the electrical industries, PTFE are used as an insulator in wire, cable wrap, spacers and tubings. It is used to separate conductive surfaces in capacitors. It is machined into standoff insulators and
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