Fluoropolymers are all around us and used in many different engineering projects every day.
How much do you really know about them though? Without further ado, here are our 21 Fluoropolymer Facts for Engineers:
1. Fluoropolymers are defined as a polymer made up of carbon and fluorine.
2. It’s estimated that the global fluoropolymer market will be worth over $8.8 billion by 2019.
3. One of the most famous fluoropolymers (Teflon by DuPont) was discovered completely by accident by Roy J. Plunkett in 1938.
4. PTFE is the fluoropolymer with the lowest coefficient of friction - which is widely accepted as 0.1
5. PTFE fluoropolymer resin was once listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the world's most slippery substance.
6. Teflon® can be found in the Statue of Liberty in New York harbour as an insulator and lubricator.
7. The most common types of fluoropolymer are PTFE, PVDF, FEP and ETFE.
8. PTFE is the fluoropolymer that’s most resistant to chemicals.
9. One of the many benefits of fluoropolymers is that they’re not toxic when coming into contact with the skin.
10. The global market for fluoropolymers is thought to be between 80,000 and 90,000 tons per year.
11. PTFE and PVF are the only two commonly used fluoropolymers that can’t be used in melt-processing techniques.
12. ETFE is a fluoropolymer that’s often used insteads of glass. Bayern Munich’s stadium, The Allianz Arena is one of the most well known buildings to use EFTE. Another is the Bird’s Nest Stadium built for the Beijing olympics, which uses ETFE panels between all of the framework to create the outer skin.
13. Some of the world’s largest manufacturers of fluoropolymers include DuPont, 3M, Solvay Chemicals, BASF and Dyneon.
14. Fluoropolymers are essential to the semiconductor industry, so without them you wouldn’t be reading this article on your phone/computer.
15. Replacing a single atom from fluorine to chlorine in PCTFE alters its properties, making melt-processing possible.
16. Fluoropolymers such as PTFE are also widely used as coatings and can operate at temperatures of up to 550℉, making them ideal for the bakery sector.
17. The newest kid on the fluoropolymer block is THV which has been around since 1996 and is widely used in insulation.
18. A variety of fillers can be added to PTFE to alter the key properties of the material, the most common being glass, bronze and carbon.
19. Volume-wise, the fluoropolymer market is anticipated to reach 478.2 thousand tonnes by 2025.
20. PTFE accounted for approximately 41% of the global fluoropolymer market by value in 2014.
21. The versatility of PTFE is incredible, being used in applications from bakeware and bridges to dental fillings and as a graft material in surgical procedures.
We hope you’ve learnt something new from this article. If you’d like more information on using PTFE or other fluoropolymers for your next engineering project, ask our specialists.
Introduction to Fluoropolymers: Materials, Technology and Applications By Sina Ebnesajjad