PTFE, a remarkable plastic for industrial applications
Since its discovery more than 80 years ago, PTFE, the acronym for poly-tetrafluoroethylene, is a material used in an increasing number of industrial applications. Its remarkable properties make it a polymer of choice for a great diversity of products.
PTFE is the historical reference for high performance plastics
With the use of PTFE began the use of high performance plastics, with performance that most materials, and especially engineering thermoplastics, can’t achieve. The performances that made PTFE stand out are its low friction properties and its high temperature resistance. With the right compounds, wear resistance can also be increased for the most demanding use cases.
These are not the only assets of this fluoropolymer. Indeed, high molecular weight and the strong structure give PTFE feature set of outstanding chemical properties.
- Extremely wide chemical corrosion resistance
- non toxic
- chemical inertness
- non-flammable : PTFE is recognized as remarkable in its resistance to flame. It is classified as non flammable material in air according to the ASTM D635 and D470 test procedures.
- highly hydrophobic
- moisture and U.V. resistance
All 3P premium raw materials conform to FDA regulations.
PTFE is also well-known for its electrical properties, that make it common in high voltage or high frequency and data protection. It shows excellent dielectric properties, independent of both frequency and temperature.
PTFE is well known for its low friction. PTFE has on the lowest coefficient of friction of solids, and the lowest one amongst plastics. It offers many other good mechanical features that make it ideal in a lot of harsh environments.
- very low coefficient of friction
- non-stick properties
- excellent tensile strength at low temperatures
- excellent fatigue resistance, especially in applications involving flexing or vibrations
- anti-ageing properties
- wide temperature use range: -200°C to +260°C
Standard & custom PTFE Compounds
A proper combination of fillers, components added in the polymer matrix, will further enhance the following factors:
- Creep resistance
- wear resistance
- thermal conductivity
- arc resistance
- dimensional stability
As a general rule, most properties, and especially tensile strength, drop sharply with the percentage of the incorporated filler.
This has to be carefully calculated before choosing the right compound for its correct application.
Where parts need to retain a degree of elasticity, the compound used will generally be low on filler. Whenever there is a problem of friction under load, a high filler content should be used.
Common fillers are
- 15% Glass Fiber (GF)
- 25% Glass Fiber (GF)
- 15% Graphite (GR)
- 25% Carbon (CAR)
- 40% Bronze (BR)
- 60% Bronze (BR)
For specific applications where standard fillers don’t fulfill the mandatory performance, other grades can be processed upon request. Specific compounds can be chosen from a wide range of mineral, inorganic, organic or metallic fillers. Predicting the impact of such fillers. The shape, the size and the reparation of such components within the PTFE matrix highly impact the performance between similar compounds.
Therefore, a strong knowledge of fillers and the high-scale production of such compounds are the most important know-how to answer specific developments.
Range of PTFE
This means that most of the PTFE products need a process (and a know-how) different from the common ones in plastics industry. Despite this particularity, PTFE can be found under the most common final products form: tubes, tapes and films, machined parts. Especially machining PTFE still allows the production of the most complex parts.