by Sara McCaslin, PhD Sara McCaslin, PhD No Comments

O-Rings for Semiconductor Manufacturing

O-rings are a circular seal that is seated within a groove and compressed between two or more parts during assembly to form a seal at the interface. While they may look simple, their importance cannot be overstated–especially when it comes to o-rings for semiconductor manufacturing applications.

Semiconductor Operating Environments

In the semiconductor manufacturing industry, it can be difficult to find an o-ring solution that can handle the harsh operating conditions that can involve factors such as aggressive media, extreme temperatures, and vacuum pressures. Chemicals such as bases, acids, solvents, amine-based strippers, and chlorinated gases may be involved depending on the application. Extended exposure to oxygen and fluorine plasmas are common

The performance requirements of o-rings for semiconductor manufacturing are challenging to meet as well, often requiring thermal, dimensional, and chemical stability at high temperatures as well as low outgassing and high purity. Requirements may also include extremely low levels of anionic and cationic impurities, low levels of TOC (Total Organic Carbon), reduced IR (Infrared Absorption), and low permeation rates.

What to Look for in an O-Ring for Semiconductor Applications

The key properties of an o-ring material for the semiconductor industry vary with the type of application involved. For example, track and lithography equipment and processes often require an o-ring that is very resistant to solvents, while CVD (Chemical Vapor Deposition) needs thermal stability and excellent performance in the presence of vacuum pressures. 

Other applications, such as CMP (Chemical Mechanical Polishing), must have o-rings made from a material that is both abrasion resistant and resistant to high pH chemical exposure. Wet etch demands an o-ring made from a high purity material that will cause no elemental contamination (i.e., low particle generation) and dry etch requires that the material be resistant to plasma. Resist stripping not only requires general chemical resistance but outstanding performance in the presence of ozone. 

O-ring materials may have to meet other requirements as well, such as resistance to poisonous doping agents and reactive fluids, low outgassing, and low trace metal content. Almost all semiconductor o-rings involve a low compression set, excellent dimensional stability, and a wide range of operating temperatures.

Is there a material that can handle the operating environments just described? Yes, there is: FFKM, which provides the resiliency and sealing force of an elastomer with the thermal stability and chemical compatibility of PTFE (trade name Teflon).

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by Sara McCaslin, PhD Sara McCaslin, PhD No Comments

FEP Encapsulated O-Rings

FEP encapsulated o-rings can survive corrosive chemicals and retain their sealing power in extreme temperatures, which is the main reason more and more engineers are choosing them for harsh environment applications. But what makes these particular o-rings special and what options are available for them?

What Makes Encapsulated O-Rings Different?

Unlike traditional o-rings, encapsulated o-rings contain a solid or hollow core that is typically made from a very elastomeric material. The exterior of the encapsulated o-ring is able to protect the encased elastomer from corrosive media that would adversely affect its performance. Together, the core and encapsulating polymer are able to provide a highly reliable seal even in extremely harsh conditions that may involve aggressive chemicals, extreme temperatures, and high pressures.

Encapsulated o-rings can be used in a wide variety of applications, including flanges, swivels, joints, valve stems, pumps, and even rocket engines. They serve as an excellent replacement for solid PTFE o-rings that are just not flexible enough for sealing in the long term. 

Characteristics of FEP

One of the most popular materials for the jacket of an encapsulated o-ring is FEP (fluorinated ethylene propylene), which has several trade names including Teflon FEP, Neoflon FEP, and Dyneon FEP. It is well known for its resistance to chemical attack, low friction, and a wide operating temperature range of -420°F through 400°F.  FEP remains flexible even at cryogenic temperatures, as well. One of its key characteristics is a very low compression set, allowing it to return to its original shape after deformation. FEP is also non-flammable and easy to lubricate.

While FEP is often compared to PTFE (Teflon), there are several key differences to keep in mind. For example, it does have a low coefficient of friction but it is higher than PTFE; at the same time, it still possesses very low friction with minimal stick-slip behavior. In addition, FEP does exhibit better vapor and gas permeability, which could be key for some applications. It is also melt processable, which means it can be vacuum formed, injection molded, and extruded. And, like PTFE, it is easy to clean even viscous liquids from.

FEP is available in FDA-approved grades, is considered a high purity material, and is less expensive than PFA, another commonly used jacket material. Note that FEP is commonly used in applications such as pump housings, medical components, food processing, fluid handling, and chemical processing.

Recommended Cores for FEP

FEP encapsulated o-rings work especially well with FKM and silicone cores, but there are other options available. FKM, which is a fluro-elastomer, has rubber-elastic properties which allow it to reassume its original shape and form after deformation. This results in excellent properties related to compression set. Silicone cores are not as stiff or hard as FKM cores and exhibit very good flexibility, even in cold temperatures. When combined with a hollow core geometry, this additional flexibility means that less energy is needed to achieve a tight seal. They work best for applications that involve low compressive forces.

Cores made from stainless steel, such as SS 301 or 302, exhibit excellent performance at both cryogenic and high temperatures, ranging from -420°F to 500°F. These cores usually take the form of a spiral spring (not unlike spring-energized seals) and exhibit minimum compression set and good resilience. They are not commonly used with FEP, however. EPDM, which stands for ethylene propylene diene monomer, is a synthetic rubber that performs well in temperatures ranging from -58°F to 300°F. Again, this particular core material is not recommended for use with FEP.

Selecting an FEP Encapsulated O-Ring

First, there are limitations associated with FEP encapsulated o-rings. They should not be used with liquid alkali metals and some fluorine  compounds, and should not be exposed to abrasive media such as slurries and some powders. 

They are not suitable for applications that involve high pressures and are limited to static or slow moving applications. In addition, they are not recommended for applications where the o-ring will be highly elongated and end-users should be aware that installation forces will be higher for FEP encapsulated o-rings.

However, experts agree that chemical attack and swelling are among the most common causes of o-ring failure, and the use of FEP encapsulated o-rings can solve both of these issues. FEP with an FKM core is a standard solution with a low compression set, recommended for operating temperature ranges not exceeding -4°F to 401°F. 

Use of a solid silicone core results in better low temperature performance, with an operating temperature range of -46°F to 401°F. A hollow core, on the other hand, involves lower contact pressures and is ideal for sensitive or fragile equipment. 


FEP encapsulated o-rings involve several key advantages, starting with their excellent chemical resistance, which allows them to be used with corrosive chemicals. These o-rings can handle pressures up to 3,000 psi and provide both an excellent service life and reliable sealing, all at a cost effective price. Their reliability and durability also translate to less downtime and better M&O costs. If corrosive media or extreme temperatures are destroying your o-rings, it may be time to consider an FEP encapsulated solution.

Advanced-EMC will work with you to find the encapsulated o-ring solution your application needs, from FDA-approved solutions for use with food processing equipment or a reliable, cryogenically compatible solution for a rocket. Contact us today to learn more.

by Sara McCaslin, PhD Sara McCaslin, PhD 1 Comment

Rocket Engine Seals For Use With Cryogenic Hypergolic Bipropellants

The use of hypergolic bipropellants such as RP1/LOX have proven to be an efficient approach to seals for rocket engine propellant. However, they require highly reliable, leak-proof seals to keep them separate before actual launch, in part because the bi-propellants will ignite when they come into contact with each other. 

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by Jackie Johnson Jackie Johnson No Comments

Amcor Partners with Michigan State University

Michigan State University’s School of Packaging is getting an upgrade thanks to global packaging leader Amcor Ltd. Thanks to Amcor, the school is receiving more than 10 million in US dollars to go towards funding a packaging sustainability professorship at the school, as well as upgrading the programs building, which has not been upgraded since 1987. And as Amcor partners with Michigan State University, both the school and the company hope to create a more sustainable plastics packaging industry.

In this week’s blog post, we will discuss the various upgrades the school is getting, the professorship and the building renovation.

Packaging Beginnings

The program at MSU was started in the fall of 1952 as a discipline in the Department of Forest Products, with the first Bachelors of Science degree in Packaging awarded in March 1955. In 1957, the MSU Board of Trustees separated the Packaging curriculum from Forest Products and, with industry assistance and advice, established an independent School of Packaging.

By the late 1960s enrollment in the program. had risen to about 300 students. With that many students, new facilities needed to be built, and in 1964 the original Packaging Building was completed with funds from corporate and private donors. Major additions to the building were completed in 1986 after student enrollment peaked at a whopping 1000 students.

Today, the School has earned a world-wide reputation for leading the charge in packaging design, innovation and sustainability.

Amcor’s Transformative Gift

In August, plastic packaging company Amcor made a $10.8 million dollar donation to MSU’s School of Packaging. The reason, according to Amcor, is manyfold.

“Today, we have over 100 MSU graduates working at Amcor already.” Said David Clark, vice president of sustainability for Amcor. “We see this as an opportunity to make a long-term commitment toward developing a stream of talent, not just for our company but also the industry.”

Amcor also has the benefit of close proximity to MSU. Amcor Rigid Packaging is based in Ann Arbor, MI, while Amcor Flexibles North America is based near Chicago, IL, both mere hours away.

“The ability to have somebody close by who is advancing the thinking about more sustainable packaging and more sustainable packaging systems is something we’re really excited about,” Clark said.

Transforming the Packaging Program

With the money, MSU plans to bring on board an endowed chair, a professorship paid for by the endowment provided by Amcor, for sustainable packing.

“The endowment for a faculty position for sustainability and the circular economy,” said Matt Daum, director of the MSU School of Packaging, “represents Amcor’s shared commitment with MSU to excellence and innovation in the future of packaging.”

While half of the money will be going to the endowed chair, the other half will go to upgrade the school’s existing building on the MSU campus.

The building, which, as stated earlier, was last renovated in 1986, is due for an upgrade. Teaching methods have changed drastically since the 80s, and a portion of the money is set to renovate the building’s main classroom, that seats a mere 100 in a slightly outdated auditorium/stage setting.

According to Daum, MSU plans to transform it into a flexible learning area, with a level floor, movable furniture and the ability to use a variety of technologies including laptops, smartphones and smartboards.

The construction will also focus on other building renovations such as more office space for faculty, more laboratories and, eventually, more classroom spaces.

“…we want it (the building) to be inspirational”, said Daum, “to be a hub where this becomes the place to draw the best minds for packaging and business leadership to come and think though and innovate in the packaging sustainability area.”

Planning for a Bright Future

The partnership between Amcor and MSU is certainly exciting. With the collaboration, both Amcor and MSU hope to lead the way to creating solutions that effectively manage used plastics. Clark is particularly enthusiastic about the partnership and what it means for the future.

“We hope it inspires other companies to make similar contributions to both academics and other collaborations that are going to help our industry move forward with solutions,” he said.

With nearly 10,000 MSU packaging school alumni around the world, Daum also hopes that school alumni will learn of the upgrades and contribute to the future of the program.

And as more and more students graduate, Amcor is excited for the innovation and ground-breaking advancements they will bring, creating a more sustainable industry as a whole.

For more plastics industry news, visit our blog HERE. For polymer seals, bearings and more, contact us today.

by Jackie Johnson Jackie Johnson No Comments

Polymer Seal Market to Add 1.7X Value by 2031

Polymer seals are becoming increasingly popular across a variety of industries from medical to oil and gas. Materials such as PTFE are leading the polymer seal market, with demand being especially high. As per Fact.MR analysis, the global sales of polymer seals are set to experience a healthy CAGR of close to 6% throughout the forecast period of 2021 to 2031.

In this week’s blog post we will discuss the key takeaways from Fact.MR’s market study.

Oil and Gas Get the Lion’s Share

According to the report, oil & gas end-use is expected to capture highest share and is set to create a US$ 5.5 billion opportunity over the forecast period. This makes sense, as the oil and gas industry has witnessed substantial growth over the past few decades. And due to increasing investments in oil and gas across the globe, it is expected to only grow.

This also effects the seal market, as demands for greater boundary pushing technologies increases with the industry’s growing need to discover new ways to obtain oil. Despite COVID-19 causing a massive downturn in both the oil and gas and the seal market, the FMI expects FMI expects global oil & gas seals market to grow at 3.3% CAGR through 2031.

Europe Leading the Way

Europe, as it turns out, manufactures over 25% of all cars in the world. This makes sense, as some of the world’s top car brands are based in Europe: Mercedes, Audi, Porsche, BMW and Volkswagen to name a few. All of these manufacturers will need polymer seals at some point during the manufacturing process. This high demand results in Europe being one of the largest consumers of polymer seals.

What about the Aviation Sector?

With increase in tourism in Asian countries as well as low air fare, the aircraft industry has experienced incredible growth around the globe. This growth has created the need for more aircrafts, which in turn create the need for more polymer seals.

In Canada and the United States, with leading aircraft manufacturers and OEMs, the market is particularly strong. Because aircraft manufacturing requires high quality seals, and because there are no safe substitutes, the market is set to grow over a rapid pace over the next few years.

COVID-19 and the Seal Market

Like most of the world, the seal market has been disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Because of disruptions in the supply chain, the polymer seal industry has faced setbacks.

One industry that has seen an increase in the use of polymer seals is the healthcare industry. There has been a boom in seals manufactured for medical devices such as ventilators, to the point where many manufacturers were struggling to keep up with the demand.

In Conclusion

COVID-19 has been tough for everyone, and the polymer seal market is no exception. However, dispite facing an uphill battle, the industry has grown and will continue to grow at record rates. Whether it’s seals for oil and gas or aviation, polymer seals are becoming a hot commodity and is set to be one of the fastest growing industries in the next decade.

Need polymer seals? Contact us today!

by Jackie Johnson Jackie Johnson No Comments

U.S. Plastics Pact and the Plastics Industry

In September of 2020, the United States launched the US Plastics Pact, a consortium of industry leaders whose goal is to work collectively towards a circular economy for plastics in the United States. Around 100 companies, including big brand names such as Coca-Cola and Target, as well as organizations geared towards sustainability such as the Ocean Conservancy, have agreed to be a part of the program, with the end goal being all plastic packaging be recyclable by 2025. In June of this year, the U.S. Plastics Pact released their roadmap, providing their plan for hitting the ambitious 2025 target.

The goals set in the road-map seem lofty, and not everyone in the plastics industry agrees with the timeline and language used.

In this week’s blog post, we will go over the goals set by the U.S. Plastics Pact Roadmap, the industry leaders who are on board, and the ones who are not.

Roadmap to Sustainability

On June 15th, the US Plastics Pact, with the help of WRAP UK, released a 36-page road-map detailing their plan to make plastic waste a thing of the past. The plan targeted four specific areas to address said plastic waste, through, according to their website, “specific actions, responsibilities, and interim timeframes in order to realize meaningful, target outcomes for a circular economy for plastic packaging.”

These target areas are:

  • Defining a list of packaging to be designated as problematic or unnecessary by 2021.
  • Ensuring 100% of new plastic packaging is reusable, recyclable or compostable by 2025.
  • Undertaking actions to effectively recycle or compost 50% of plastic packing (including PET and PP thermoformed and injected molded containers) by 2025.
  • Ensuring the average recycled content or responsibly sourced bio-based content in plastic packaging (such as PE films) is at 30% by 2025.

The roadmap also calls to boost recycling rate of packaging made from PET, polypropylene and high-density polyethylene to 70% by 2025.

It’s goal by the end of 2022 is for all of its members to make public commitments to use recycled content in most of their packaging.

Lofty goals, but goals they say are obtainable. Not everyone agrees, however.

Realistic Goals or Pipe Dream?

The American Chemistry Council, the trade association for chemical companies and plastics manufacturers, says it welcomes the goals of the pact. In fact, many plastic firms have also signed on to the pact, including Amcor, Eastman Chemical and the National Association for PET Container Resources.

The issue, according to the ACC, is the timeline, and the language regarding phasing out “problematic plastic products”. In a statement issued by Joshua Baca, ACC’s vice president of plastics, said they want the Pact to be “transparent, data-driven and make recommendations based on science and engineering, rather than ideology” and to have “an inclusive and open process” that will “generate more informed and reliable outcomes and minimize risks of unintended consequences that can result from material substitution.”

The ACC had announced its own plans to create a circular plastics economy in 2018. Their plan was slightly less aggressive, with goal of 100% recyclable plastic packaging by 2030, and 100% of plastic packaging being either re-used, recycled or recovered by 2040. In 2020, the ACC announced their own “Roadmap to Reuse”, which outlined the ACC’s vision to achieve the previously listed goals.

Some in the plastics industry agree with the Pact.

Many plastic firms and trade groups have also signed on to the pact, including Amcor, Eastman Chemical and the National Association for PET Container Resources.

Amcor’s VP of Sustainability, David Clark, went on record saying “…we are proud to support the rollout of the US Plastics Pact Roadmap – which shows how cooperation across the value chain can help us solve the problem of waste in the environment.”

The National Association for PET Container Resources, or NAPCOR, even worked with the Pact to help launch the Roadmap, with NAPCOR Executive Director Darrel Collier saying that the U.S. Plastics Pact recycling goal of 50% is “ambitious, but not impossible.”

In Conclusion

While not everyone is keen on the US Plastics Pact Roadmap’s ambitious plans to create a circular plastics economy and reduce waste, many companies are more on board.

With more and more manufacturing companies agreeing to do their part to reduce plastic waste, The US Plastics Pact believes it can pave the way forward to a more sustainable plastics industry. The ACC also believes their plan can achieve those goals, while giving a more realistic timeline.

The important thing is, according to Collier, to do something.

“The timeframe is short, and the workload is immense, but if we choose to do nothing, the visions of a circular economy across the U.S. will give way to the status quo.”

With help from plastics manufacturers, companies can help make sure plastics remain both in the US economy, but out of the environment, for years to come.

by Jackie Johnson Jackie Johnson No Comments

The Oil and Gas Industry During Covid-19

During the early months of 2020, when the COVID-19 pandemic raged across the globe, the oil and gas industry face a historic collapse.

2020 was a year of astounding disruption.

With restrictions in travel, decline in economic activity, a price war between various countries, and declines in stock, the industry was shaken to its very core and, like many other industries, forced to reinvent itself in the wake of 2020.

In this week’s blog post we will discuss the state of the oil and gas industry during the COVID-19 pandemic, how it has fared, and innovations that have been made.

An Industry Wide Crisis

2020 was a volatile year for many industries, oil and gas in particular. In the early months of 2020, oil prices had declined by about 33%. After that various oil producing countries engaged in a price war, triggered by a breakdown in dialogue. COVID-19 caused a historic drop in travel, causing the demand for oil to plummet to unprecedented lows.

WTI spot prices declined to as low as $8.91 a barrel in April of 2020, a level not seen since the economic recession of 1986. The drop in oil prices has also added problems to several energy producing states and local governments in the US, such as Texas, that are dependent on oil and gas revenue.

Many companies had to reorganize their entire business model, and many others were forced to file for bankruptcies or to liquidate their assets.

Things looked fairly bleak for the industry as 2020 progressed and the pandemic continued to rage across the globe. Despite that there were several silver linings.

Oil in the Medical Market

One good thing is that despite the disruption in oil production, causing a drop of more than a million barrels per day over the year, there has been little to no shortage in actual supply of oil. This means that people have still been able to fill their car or use natural gas to heat their home. The industry has also been open during large parts of the pandemic, having been deemed essential by the government. This makes sense, as petroleum is used in everything from anesthetics to wheelchairs to the gas the powers ambulances.

Likewise, while there has been a shortage of medical supplies such as masks and ventilators, it was mainly a planning issue. These supplies and others like gowns, surgical equipment, syringes and more are made with petroleum-based products. As such the oil and gas industry was able assist to manufacture all of those products in mere weeks to meet the demands created by COVID-19.

Similarly, with the COVID-19 vaccines include syringes made from plastics derived from petroleum, and the Pfizer and Moderna vaccine require storage in industrial refrigeration made possible thanks to petroleum-based products.


While there is no doubt that COVID-19 has disrupted the oil and gas industry, some are stating that it may be a blessing in some ways. According to a report by the International Bar Association, the “reduction in oil and gas prices has increased the pressure on the industry to seek greater efficiency and reduce production costs.”

One promising alternative is digitalization, either through virtual modeling for project optimization, digital planning, cloud-based process design or machine learning.

With the social distancing requirements in place in many countries, this has forced companies to streamline remote work platforms.

Bob Benstead, VP of business cloud software firm Infor had this to say on the subject:

“I believe the biggest development that the oil and gas industry will see in 2021 will be the dramatic ramp-up of digital initiatives. This will truly push the industry toward new thinking, especially around how to maximize AI and machine learning, aligned to sensors and other Internet of Things devices, to drive down costs and optimize the workforce. Additionally, the increased trend toward cloud computing will help to significantly lower the total cost of service (TCS) to build, run and maintain efficient ERP (enterprise resource planning) and EAM (enterprise asset management) systems that oil and gas companies rely on.” ( “What Looms for Oil and Gas in 2021”)

Digitalization is expected to play a key role in the oil and gas industry as 2021 goes on. With enabling remote operations and allowing more human-machine collaboration, digitalizing is driving the industry forward.

Hope on the Horizon

The EIA (the US Energy Information Administration) predicts that the cost of crude oil will decline by the second half of 2021, making a more balanced global oil market. This will hopefully lower gas prices, which have been at record highs, as well as lowering the cost of production of petroleum-based products.

The oil and gas industry is also looking towards the future, with key players looking into clean energy transition, exploring public-private partnerships.

In early October, 323 rigs were working in domestic oil plays, which rose to 413 for the week ended Dec. 23, up about 28% year to date. This is still down substantially from the 838 rigs active in early March, but up nearly 50% from the early-July low of 279.

And finally, while the oil and gas industry as a whole has seen a downturn in profit, one sector, the gas pump market, as seen a CAGR growth of 6.85% in 2020, and is expected to reach a market size of US$8.685 billion by the year 2026.

In Conclusion

The impact of COVID-19 on the oil and gas industry has forced many to discuss the future of one of the world’s most volatile industries. Despite the hardships, however, there is no doubt that oil and gas will remain an important part in the global economy, and our every day lives, for some time to come.

For more information of polymer sealing solutions for oil and gas, contact Advanced EMC Technologies today!

by Jackie Johnson Jackie Johnson No Comments

A Growing Medical Market

There are many factors that contribute to the rapidly growing medical plastics market. There is an increased demand for advanced medical devices, a rise in disposable income and changing lifestyles, and a demand for affordable and efficient healthcare systems.

These and more are currently driving the medical market, with a current estimated net worth of 22.8 billion USD.

And it is only growing.

Experts suggest that by 2024, the market will grow to a whopping 31.7 billion, with a CAGR of 6.8%.

Medical Plastics Market

Source: Markets and Markets, Medical Plastics Market

Applications of Medical Grade Plastics

Plastic packaging is widespread across many industries, but no more so than in the medical field. Within the next few years, packaging is expected to grow at a CAGR of 7.8%, due to the increased use in pharmaceutical packaging, device packaging, and more.

Surprisingly though, it is devices such as medical implants and machinery that are generating the largest revenue and driving the industry forward. A perfect storm of an ever-growing population and an increase in chronic diseases, along with the lower manufacturing cost of these devices has led to the largest growth in the medical plastics industry.

Global medical polymers market

Source: Grand View Research, Medical Polymers Market Size

An Industry Standard

Since the 1980s plastics have dominated the medical device industry on account of their low manufacturing cost, flexibility, ease of replacement, and low risk of infection.

Plastics also provide radiolucency, enable light-weighting, and reduce stress-shielding. Because they are radiolucent, polymer-based surgical devices allow surgeons to have an unobstructed view.

All these combine to make medical-grade plastics the gold standard in the industry. Which in turn creates a very lucrative market.

In Conclusion

The medical-grade plastic industry has taken off in an incredibly short amount of time. With increasingly easy to manufacture products coupled with an ever-expanding market, the industry will only get bigger over time. Want to learn more? Contact us today! 


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Bear the Wear and Tear with Versatile, Durable Plastic Flange Bushing

plastic_flange_bushingsThe Sacramento Bee published an industry news update on its site regarding the bearings industry in America. Things are looking good as the country’s numerous industrial sectors are all in need of the vital components that this field provides. The article points out that the market has a lot more room to expand.

Ball, roller, and plain bearing demand in the US is forecast to increase 4.4 percent per year to $12.9 billion in 2017. This will be a notable improvement from the growth registered during the 2007 to 2012 period. Market advances will be supported by improved conditions in motor vehicle manufacturing, the largest market for bearings. The trend toward “insourcing” US durable goods manufacturing will create opportunities in a variety of markets.

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Manufacturers of Non-Hazardous Polymer Seals Say EPA wants to Phase Out PFOA

Some Teflon manufacturers have announced that they will be phasing out non-stick coatings on pans and other cookware by 2015 or earlier, reports Roddy Scheer and Doug Moss of E-The Environmental Magazine. The decision was made after these manufacturers received reports of serious health effects that resulted from exposing Teflon to high heat. High heat exposure releases a constituent chemical known as PFOA in gas form.

However, take note that only Teflon derived from perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) will be phased out. It’s unlikely to affect the other Teflon—virgin polytetrafluorethylene (PTFE). Chemist Roy Plunkett first discovered PTFE in 1938, and it currently holds the Guinness World Record for slickest substance. Companies that are looking for manufacturers of quality polymer seals and bearings that are non-hazardous should contact manufacturers like Advanced EMC Technologies.

At 0.02, PTFE has the lowest coefficient of static and dynamic friction for a solid. It has seen various uses aside from non-stick frying pans and casseroles, and has even been applied in aerodynamics. Consumers and businesses that are worried about the health hazards of PFOA would be glad to know that many manufacturers, such as Advanced EMC Technologies, are producing seals, bearings, and precision components using efficient but non-hazardous materials.

While there’s no direct evidence linking exposure to PFOA to health problems, workers in factories that produce PFOA products are at risk of developing pancreatic and testicular cancer. As initial tests have shown that PFOA is lethal to birds, some are quick to assume that it may pose the same threat to humans. The fumes emitted by non-stick pans during cooking may contain the carcinogenic PFOA, which has been found to increase estrogen levels and deregulate testosterone functions.

In a letter to former Environmental Protection Agency administrator Lisa Jackson, a well-known Teflon manufacturer discussed its goal of totally eliminating PFOA by 2015 or earlier. Alternatives being researched assure the EPA and the public that future products containing PTFE (no longer called Teflon) won’t break down or contain any PFOA. By using polymers that do not emit hazardous substances, public health and safety is reinforced.

Virgin PTFE is already available in the market, primarily for making industrial-grade virgin PTFE rotary shaft seals. Reinforced seals can resist temperatures between 60 below zero to 520 degrees Fahrenheit. These seals are primarily used to handle hazardous materials, as they won’t degrade so easily upon chemical and nuclear exposure. Virgin PTFE may not be as slick as the original Teflon (static and dynamic coefficient of 0.09 and 0.05 respectively), but it doesn’t need to be.