Difference Between PTFE and Teflon

Main Difference – PTFE vs Teflon

PTFE and Teflon are two names that refer to the same polymer material. PTFE is the shortened version of the polymer called polytetrafluoroethylene. Teflon is the trade name for PTFE. PTFE is a very special polymer with certain important properties, which are not seen in any other organic polymer. This is the key differnce between PTFE and teflon. Those properties include very high chemical resistivity, lowest surface energy, and very high thermal stability. Most of these properties are due to the presence of C-F bonds of PTFE. Unlike C-H bonds in many other polymers, C-F bond is stronger and highly polarized. C-F is one of the strongest single bonds with a bond energy of 485 kJ/mol. PTFE structure is similar to linear polyethylene (PE). However, PE has smaller hydrogen atoms with a low electronegativity, resulting in low electron density on the H atom. F atom in PTFE is larger than hydrogen resulting helical backbone in PTFE. Moreover, the size of F atom is sufficient to form a ‘protective’ sheath around the carbon backbone, which turns PTFE stronger than most of other polymers.

What is PTFE

PTFE is a simple thermoplastic polymer consisting of just two elements: carbon and fluorine. It is a hydrophobic polymer and has the lowest coefficients of friction of any solid. PTFE possesses low tensile strength, high wear resistance, and low creep resistance. It is very non-reactive. Because of this property, it is used to coat the surface of many cookwares, commonly known as non-stick pans. Due to its high chemical and corrosive resistant properties, it has been used as a coating for pipelines and containers where reactive and corrosive chemicals are applied. PTFE is used in many computer applications such as hookup wires, coaxial cables etc. due to its excellent dielectric properties. PTFE is also used as a lubricant to reduce the friction and increase wear resistance.

PTFE is a crystalline polymer with a melting point around 327 °C. However, the crystalline nature of PTFE does not generally allow it to exhibit a noticeable glass transition temperature (Tg). The free radical polymerization process synthesizes PTFE. Owing to its excellent thermal and corrosive resistance, it is not easily machinable. Sinter and press methods in powder metallurgy are used to process molding powders. PTFE can also be extruded using tam extruder techniques. Emulsion polymerization technique is used to produce PTFE resins. These resins are used for manufacturing expanded membranes.Main Difference - PTFE vs Teflon

What is Teflon

Teflon is the trade name of PTFE. In 1938, it was accidently discovered by Roy J. Plunket, a DuPont chemist. It was then introduced to the public in 1960 when first Teflon-coated frying pans (non-stick pans) were sold. It is now used for a vast range of applications including substitute bones for skull, nose, hip, nose, knees, ear parts, heart valves, tendons, dentures, sutures, and facial tracheas, as a biomedical material in artificial corneas, nose cones and heat shields for space vehicles and for their fuel tanks.  Difference Between PTFE and Teflon

Difference Between PTFE and Teflon

  • There is no difference between PTFE and Teflon. PTFE is the shorten form of the chemical name of polytetrafluoroethylene, whereas Teflon is the trade name of the same polymer.

Reference:

Carraher, C. E. (2013). Introduction to polymer chemistry. Boca Raton, FL: Taylor & Francis.

Ebnesajjad, S. (2016). Expanded Ptfe Applications Handbook Technology, Manufacturing and Applications. William Andrew.

Image Courtesy:

“Teflon structure” (GPL) via

“Tiflon stock pans” By Pogrebnoj-Alexandroff via  

About the Author: Yashoda

Yashoda has been a freelance writer in the field of biology for about four years. He is an expert in conducting research related to polymer chemistry and nano-technology. He holds a B.Sc. (Hons) degree in Applied Science and a Master of Science degree in Industrial Chemistry.


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