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Differences between PTFE and Teflon

by Tyron Denson

PTFE. Teflon.

You’re probably looking at these two words and wondering what they mean. Even if you have an idea of what they do, they are so closely related and perform the same tasks that it might be hard to choose between the two.

You probably have questions like:

Are they the same? Are they different? Why should I choose one over the other? What makes each of them unique? If I am going for PTFE, should I go for PTFE Graphite Packing, and why?

All these questions and many more will be answered as we explore PTFE and Teflon. Let’s start with the first?

What is PTFE?

PTFE is the well-known abbreviation of polytetrafluoroethylene. From the name, you can see that it consists of two elements. It can also be described as a synthetic polymer. The source of these elements is TFE which is known as Tetrafluoroethylene.

It is used widely for several chemical processes because of its unique properties. These properties include:

High melting point

PTFE is used widely because it can withstand very high temperatures. It has a very high melting point temperature (327°C). This means that it is very difficult to destroy.

The friction coefficient for PTFE is very low

For those who don’t know what friction co-efficient is all about, it’s simply a dimensionless quantity that shows the frictional relationship between two (solid) bodies. It is the ratio of the friction force between two solid bodies.

The friction coefficient for PTFE is one of the lowest that has ever existed for solids. It can’t stick to anything, and nothing can stick to it.

Inertness

PTFE is chemically inert. Very few and rare solvents can damage PTFE.

High ability to bend easily

It can flex and bend. This ability to bend certainly does not depend on any particular temperature. This enables it to be applied on different surfaces without losing its nature.

Hydrophobic

It is very resistant to water, so it can be used to dress wounds, cook, etc.

All these properties have helped PTFE to be used both commercially, industrially, and domestically. You’re probably using PTFE in your home- for stain resistance in fabrics and carpets, and to coat/cover non-stick cookware. You can also see it in hair styling equipment, nail polish, and wiper blades.

In industries, it’s used to coat the internal parts of pipes that carry hot materials or corrosive substances. You should also try out PTFE Graphic Packing for stronger resistance and added protection.

What is Teflon?

Well, let’s start at the beginning. It was established in 1938. Arranged by Chemours and finalized by the Du Pont Company, it was sure to light up the world.

By 1946, it was already being used in the trading of products.

Dr. Roy Plunkett has been attributed to the finding of Teflon.  In case you are wondering who he was, he was just another employee of Du Pont. During that period, he had a different aim- discovering a refrigerant.

However, things likely changed when he found a bottle filled with TFE gas. Now, the gas had escaped and yet, nothing significant had happened. It had not lost any of its properties.

He was curious and later discovered that the bottle’s interior part was lined with a peculiar material. This material was waxy and yet strong. This was the beginning of Teflon.

This material is a polymer that contains different element such as fluorine and carbon. In other words, Teflon and PTFE are one and the same.

So, which should you use?

It’s up to you.

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