If you have never heard of a fluoropolymer coating, you are not alone. Fluoropolymer is part of an omnipresent group of compounds called polymers. They occur both naturally – such as rubber, silk and wool, and synthetically, with products such as plastic. The fluoropolymer is a specific and specialized type of polymer. It contains molecules of both carbon and fluorine.
The Discovery or Fluoropolymer
Fluoropolymers were discovered by accident. Du Pont chemist Roy J. Plunkett (1910-1994) was working on another project at the time. In 1938, he was trying to find a substitute for some of the most poisonous refrigerants. He was researching tetrafluoroethylene. Instead of obtaining the results he wanted, he polymerized it. The result was polytetrafluoroethylene or PTFE. This was the start of the movement towards non-stick, heat resistant coverings, including fluoropolymer coating.
Fluoropolymer Coating: Basic Types
Fluoropolymers have become adopted and adapted for the coating of different substances. Among the fundamental types employed in the fluoropolymer coating process is the following big three:
* Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE)
* Perfluoroalkoxy (PFA)
* Fluorinated ethylene-propylene (FEP)
While each may be utilized with a different surface, they all are employed for the unique qualities they provide when used as a fluoropolymer coating.
The Desirable Qualities of Fluoropolymer Coating
Since their accidental discovery, the industry demand for fluoropolymer coating has grown, due to its highly desirable qualities including:
* Exceptional non-stick properties
* Friction reduction – possess extremely low coefficients of friction
* Corrosion resistance
* High chemical resistance
* Ability to withstand elevated temperatures
* Low conductivity
* Repel water
* Anti-galling qualities
* Resistance to abrasion
A fluoropolymer coating is used because it helps the product or component to last longer than it would without the coating. To this longevity, the coating helps the part function better as it is employed in its environment – extending its lifespan in terms of time and productivity.
Industries that Employ a Fluoropolymer Coating
This combination of characteristics or properties appeals to a variety of industries. In fact, fluoropolymer coating has been embraced by the automotive, aerospace and electronics industries. Other industries that use a fluoropolymer coating to preserve the integrity and extend the life of their components and products are:
* Oil & Gas/Chemical Production
* Food Processing
* Heavy Equipment
* Cookware and other Housewares
The demand for fluoropolymer coatings is colossal. In 2011, alone it was worth $7.25 billion. As new applications of the substance are created, demand will continue to grow. Fluoropolymer and the subsequent creation of the useful fluoropolymer coating is now an integral part of society, which makes for an ever-growing demand that can’t seem to be able to decrease.