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The very same chemicals that keep foods from sticking to frying pans can be used to enhance any thermoplastic part or component. Thermoplastic resins made with powerful polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) micropowders provide excellent non-stick properties.
The Power of PTFE
PTFE micropowders are synthetic fluoropolymers that act as lubricants in thermoplastic base resins to improve their surface wear characteristics. The molecular weight and particle size of Fluon® PTFE micropowders can be custom-tailored to yield optimal application-specific improvements for wear, friction and pressure-velocity.
In the above diagram of a PTFE compound’s chemical structure, the fluorine atoms surround the carbon atoms, providing:
- Heat resistance
- Electrical resistance
- Chemical resistance
- Low coefficient of friction
- Non-stick characteristics
Ideal Applications for PTFE Micropowders
PTFE filled thermoplastics are recommended for applications requiring low friction losses, non-stick properties and maximum wear resistance:
- Wear plates
- Instrument components
- Liners for control equipment
- Sliding contact applications for domestic appliances and automotive areas
Is PTFE a Thermoplastic or Thermoset?
You may be wondering why PTFE is classified as a thermoplastic since it has heat resistant properties. It is true that a thermoplastic turns into a liquid at higher temperatures and can easily be remolded, while thermosets cure with an irreversible bond that is unaffected by heat.
However, PTFE is classified as a thermoplastic because its melt viscosity is so high that it will only melt and soften under extreme temperatures. It’s a linear polymer chain and a melt transition point can be detected at 327 °C (620.6 °F). Although most non-stick pans will never reach the PTFE melt point on a stove top, they will degrade if they are put in an oven over 260 °C (500 °F).
Other Applications for PTFE Micropowders
These strong fluoropolymers are very useful materials for more than just thermoplastics. There are thousands of applications, from flexographic printing inks to food packaging, that use their unique combination of properties.
- Anti-scuff agent for ink and paint
- Food contact coatings
- Ski wax
- Grease thickener
- Oil thickener
- Aerosols and solvents
- Dry lubricants
To learn more about Fluon PTFE micropowders, click here.