What is Teflon®

23/08/2016

What is Teflon®

In 1938 an employee of the Du Pont de Nemours Corporation discovered PTFE as a by product of the refrigeration process. His name was Dr Roy J. Plunkett. This PTFE material was identified as being the ultimate Non Stick surface with a coefficient of friction lower than ice on ice. Totally inert, its chemical resistance was parless. Although initially difficult to convert into a usable solid material, applications for this new wonder material came thick and fast. Medical, Military, Pharmaceutical, Chemical, as well as a diversity of Non-Stick applications.

The Du Pont Corporation registered the trade name as TeflonTM in 1941.

The Guinness Book of World’s Records once listed TeflonTM as the slipperiest substance in existence – it is the only known substance to which a gecko’s feet will not adhere, because of its resistance to van der Waals forces (in case you didn’t know, Van der Waal’s forces are the attractive and repulsive forces between molecules!) 

The fact that the PTFE material was difficult to work with – since it was not a true thermoplastic – led Du Pont to develop co polymers which were able to be moulded, extruded and thermoformed. Thus FEP, PFA and ETFE were created. They share the same Non-Stick and Chemical Inertness of the parent material whilst offering the advantages of weldability and thermoformability. They were also covered by the TeflonTM Trade Name.

As time went by, more and more Specialist Chemical companies set out to make their own versions of these versatile Fluoroplastic materials. Hoechst (subsequently Dyneon), Daikin, ICI and 3M amongst others all identified the potential of PTFE and its copolymers.

As the visibility of the TeflonTM brand became much higher in the public domain, the word TeflonTM started to become synonymous with Non Stick references – likewise it has been used as generic terminology for all Fluoroplastic materials, no matter what the source. The TeflonTM Trade name, however, is still registered to The Du Pont de Nemours Corporation, now known as Chemours and, as such, it should not be used without a Trade Name reference or approval.

Holscot uses raw materials from a variety of different sources, including Chemours, dependent on customer specification and/or marketability. If TeflonTM is what you want, we can give you TeflonTM – although most likely there will be consequences in terms of cost and delivery. It’s all about giving the customer what they want. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact our Sales Team at sales@holscot.com or use the contact form here.