PTFE uses, advantages and limitations
PTFE uses, properties and limitations.
Polytetrafluoroethylene, PTFE, or Teflon® as it is often referred to, is a tough, ductile material with excellent thermal properties and outstanding resistance to chemicals and the passage of electric current. PTFE has an exceptionally low coefficient of friction, believed to be lower than any other solid.
While plastics are high molecular weight organic polymers composed of various elements such as carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen, sulphur and chlorine, Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) is just made up of fluorine and carbon atoms. This dramatically changes the property of the material and PTFE, like other fluoroplastics, has distinctive properties.
Properties of PTFE:
- Low surface energy and non-stick characteristics
- Effective over a wide range of temperatures
- Very low coefficient of friction
- Low dielectric constant
- High electrical strength and thermal insulation
- Resistance to weather and UV light
- High ductilityHigh inertness
- High corrosion and chemical resistanceNon-Flammable
- Low compression modulus allowing enhanced sealing at low pressure
- FDA approved and food safe
- Low water absorption
PTFE, however also has some limitations in its applications.
Limitations of PTFE:
- Non-melt processable material
- Low tensile yield strength and modulus (when compared to PEEK, PPS and LCP)
- High wear behaviour in unfilled state
- Not weldable
- Sensitivity to creep and abrasion
- Low radiation resistance
One of the common applications of PTFE is non-stick coating in kitchen cookware (pans, baking trays, etc.). PTFE is also used as a cost-effective solution for chemical processing, oil & gas, industrial, semiconductor, and construction sectors.
Typical PTFE applications:
- Surface coatings
- Chemical processing equipment
- Valve seats
- External aircraft components
- Vessel linings
- Printed circuit boards
- Industrial bakeware
- Food processing equipment
- Structural bearings
PTFE has a very high-melt viscosity and a high-melting temperature which makes traditional processing methods difficult.
Typical PTFE Processing Methods:
- Cold compression moulding and sintering
- RAM extrusion Paste extrusion
- Auto moulding
- Isostatic moulding
- Moulding and skiving
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