by Denise Sullivan Denise Sullivan No Comments

Unveiling Fluoropolymers: A Journey Through History, Chemistry, and Applications

fluoropolymers

Fluoropolymers, a class of synthetic materials renowned for their unique properties and diverse applications, have left an indelible mark on modern technology and industry. Join us on an illuminating journey as we delve into the rich history, fundamental chemistry, processing techniques, structure, properties, and wide-ranging applications of these remarkable materials.

A Brief History

The story of fluoropolymers traces back to the early 20th century when chemists began experimenting with fluorine-containing compounds. In 1938, Dr. Roy Plunkett accidentally discovered polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE), the first fluoropolymer, while working on refrigerants for DuPont. This serendipitous discovery laid the foundation for developing a family of fluorinated polymers with extraordinary properties.

Fundamental Chemistry of Fluoropolymers

At the heart of fluoropolymers lies fluorine, one of the most electronegative elements in the periodic table. Fluorine’s strong electron affinity and bond strength impart unique characteristics to fluoropolymers, including high chemical inertness, low surface energy, and exceptional thermal stability. These properties stem from the strength and stability of carbon-fluorine bonds, among the strongest known in organic chemistry.

Processing Techniques

Fluoropolymers are processed using various techniques, including extrusion, compression, injection, and sintering. However, due to their high melting points and low melt viscosities, processing fluoropolymers presents unique challenges. Specialized equipment and processing conditions are required to ensure uniformity, dimensional stability, and optimal performance in finished products.

Structure and Properties

These polymers exhibit a range of structures and properties depending on their molecular composition and processing methods. PTFE, for example, features a highly crystalline structure with long polymer chains arranged in a random coil configuration. This structure contributes to its exceptional chemical resistance, low friction coefficient, and non-stick properties. Other fluoropolymers, such as polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF) and ethylene tetrafluoroethylene (ETFE), possess distinct molecular architectures that endow them with specific properties suited to various applications.

Applications

Fluoropolymers are widely used across numerous industries thanks to their exceptional properties and versatility. In the automotive sector, PTFE coatings provide lubricity and wear resistance in engine components, while fluorinated elastomer sealants ensure long-term durability in automotive gaskets and seals. In the chemical processing industry, fluoropolymer linings protect equipment from corrosive chemicals, ensuring safety and reliability. Fluorinated polymers are insulating materials in high-performance cables and wire coatings in electronics. From aerospace to healthcare, construction to consumer goods, the applications of fluoropolymers continue to expand, driven by their unique combination of properties and performance advantages.

Fluoropolymers represent a triumph of scientific innovation and engineering ingenuity, offering a glimpse into the vast potential of synthetic materials. From their serendipitous discovery to their ubiquitous presence in modern industry, fluoropolymers have reshaped the technological landscape and empowered countless innovations. As research and development efforts continue, the future holds even more tremendous promise for these remarkable materials, paving the way for advances in sustainability, efficiency, and performance across diverse applications.

In conclusion, the story of fluoropolymers is a testament to human curiosity, perseverance, and the transformative power of science. Join us as we explore the fascinating world of fluoropolymers and uncover the secrets of these extraordinary materials that continue to shape our world.

by Sara McCaslin, PhD Sara McCaslin, PhD No Comments

Auto Molding PTFE Seals and Seats: Advantages for High-Volume Production Runs

Auto molding PTFE seals and seats offer a wide variety of benefits, especially for high-volume production runs. In this blog post, we cover some background on both PTFE and auto molding (also known as compression molding) and discuss why this particular manufacturing process is often preferred by engineers for both seals and ball valve seats.

Read more

by Sara McCaslin, PhD Sara McCaslin, PhD No Comments

Low Temperature O-Ring Solutions

Finding the right low-temperature o-ring solution can be critical to both the success and safety of a design — and FEP encapsulated o-rings are an excellent solution.

Low Temperature and Cryogenic Applications

Cryogenic refers to temperatures below freezing and extending to absolute zero (-460°F / -273°C), while low-temperature environments are typically defined as below -25°F. Common chemicals that are stored or transported at cryogenic temperature include 

  • Liquid Oxygen (LOX), -297°F
  • Liquid Natural Gas (LNG), −265°F
  • Liquid Hydrogen (LH2), -423°F
  • Liquid Nitrogen (LN2), –130°F 
  • Liquid Helium, -452°F 

The industries that involve low temperatures include aerospace, energy, electronics, chemical processing, food, pharmaceutical, and medicine. Quantum computing, rockets, and MRI machines are just a few specific examples where cryogenic o-rings are needed. 

Read more

by Sara McCaslin, PhD Sara McCaslin, PhD No Comments

The Basics of PVDF

Kynar PVDF (property of Arkema) is a high purity polymer that combines extreme-temperature performance, easy manufacturability, and durability in some of the harshest environments. 

What is PVDF?

PVDF (polyvinylidene difluoride or polyvinyl fluoride) is a fluorinated thermoplastic resin that is classified as a specialty polymer whose brand names include Kynar (Arkema), KF (Kureha), and Solef or Hylar (Solvay). This engineering polymer can often be found in environments that involve high purity, hot acid, extremely high temperatures, and/or radiation. 

Read more

by Jackie Johnson Jackie Johnson No Comments

The History of ePTFE

Expanded PTFE (or ePTFE), like regular PTFE, is an incredibly versatile and rugged material. And like PTFE, ePTFE began as an accident. Before we can get to that, however, we should start at the beginning.

What is the history of ePTFE?  When his ideas for expanding the use of PTFE was turned down by his employers at DuPont, chemist Wilbert “Bill” Gore left the company to start his own. And in 1958 Gore and his wife Genevive “Vive” Gore founded W.L. Gore and Associates out of the basement of their Delaware home. During this time, Gore’s company began to serve the burgeoning computer industry by using PTFE to insulate multiple copper conductors and fashion them into ribbon cable resulting in a product known as MULTI-TET.

Learn More About the History of ePTFE

Bob Gore

Bob Gore recreating his discovery of ePTFE

As the years went on it became clear to Gore that trends in computer technologies meant that computers were becoming smaller and smaller, resulting in the need for less cables for circuitry. In 1968, Gore tasked his son, Robert “Bob” Gore, to come up with a solution. One night in October 1969, Bob Gore was researching a new process for stretching extruded PTFE into pipe-thread tape when he discovered that the polymer could be “expanded.”

After several failed experiments in which Bob tried to slowly expand the material even further, he became frustrated and yanked the material. As it turned out, this was the exact conditions PTFE needed to become expanded. This sudden yank resulted in the transformation of solid PTFE into a microporous structure that was about 70% air. This material would later become known as ePTFE, or Gore-Tex.

ePTFE Applications

Today, ePTFE is used in a wide variety of applications. These applications include:

  • Aerospace
  • Automotive
  • Energy
  • Filtration
  • Medical
  • And much more

Interested in learning more about ePTFE and how Advanced EMC Technologies can offer you premiere sealing solutions? Contact us today!

by admin admin No Comments

Thermal Analysis Techniques for Polymers, Part 1: DTA, TMA, and DMA


In this blog post, we are going to start a discussion about the most common thermal analysis techniques used to investigate the properties of polymers.  In part 1 of this series, our focus will be on:

  • differential thermal analysis
  • thermomechanical analysis; and
  • dynamic mechanical analysis 

This discussion will include how these tests are performed and what kind of properties can be determined from the resulting data.

dye-sensitized solar cellImage Source

Read more

by admin admin No Comments

Extreme Polymers: Polyimide


Polyimide, typically abbreviated as PI or referred to tradenames such as Vespel, Plavis and Duratron-PI, is the second most powerful high temperature engineering polymer on the market today, right behind Celazole.  In this blog post, we are going to discuss the characteristics and uses of this powerful high-performance polymer.

Il-76TD_Soloviev_aircraft_engine.jpgSource

Read more