Fluoropolymers and Their Uses

What are fluoropolymers?

Fluoropolymers are a family of plastics in which hydrogen atoms have been replaced by one or more molecules of fluorine. These polymers are known for their high performance.

The most well-known fluoropolymer is polytetrafluoroethylene, or PTFE. This plastic is unreactive to most chemicals, and this has made it one of the most versatile and useful materials existing today.

Following the introduction of PTFE, more fluoropolymers have been developed, and are used for all sorts of applications, such as non-stick cookware, stain repellent and communications and electronics.

Advantages of Fluoropolymers

Fluoropolymers are known for their great strength and durability, making them an ideal material for construction and performance.

Their heat resistant nature also makes their use paramount in reducing the risk of fire in high rise buildings and aircraft.

PTFE specifically can resist high temperatures and is inert to most chemicals. Therefore, using fluoropolymers in non-stick coating makes for easy clean up and sparkling pots and pans every time.

What are they used for?

Thanks to their durability and resistance, fluoropolymers have become integral in a number of different industries.

Some typical uses for fluoropolymers include:

  • Wire insulation – their protective and stable capabilities make them an ideal insulation source
  • Non-stick cookware and bakeware – regarded as one of the most slippery materials, fluoropolymers are great for this use
  • Packaging for lithium ion batteries – again due to their high levels of resistance to other chemicals
  • Implants and catheters for bio-medical usage

Specific fluoropolymers are used for various things too:

PTFE – used for applications where broad chemical resistance, high durability and high melting points are needed e.g. gears and slide plates; chemical resistant valves and non-stick coatings for moulds, dies, and cookware.

PVDF Poly(vinylidene fluoride) – used in aircraft and electronics. Often combined with other cheaper plastics to improve the chemical resistance and weatherability of these.

PVF Poly(vinyl fluoride) – most commonly used in surface protecting laminate to improve chemical and UV resistance.

The properties of fluoropolymers make them a fantastic material to use in so many industries. Whether your need is for heat resistance or non-stick capabilities, or simply versatility and durability, fluoropolymers fit the bill every time.

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