The Applications and Uses of Polytetrafluoroethylene


Like other engineering plastics, polytetrafluoroethylene has a number of commercial and industrial applications that make this versatile material much-used all over the world. Polytetrafluoroethylene is better known under one of its trademarked formulas, Teflon, but this brand name is just one version of the plastic. These days, engineers tend to refer to polytetrafluoroethylene simply as PTFE. It is made from a combination of fluorine and carbon, which make strong bonds together, and it is this quality that gives PTFE its durability in industrial applications. It is often also put to use as a lubricant because it has a low coefficient of friction. Take a closer look at its uses in the modern world of thermoplastics.

Wiring Insulation

One of the major uses of PTFE today is for providing a shield for wires of all sorts. It is a particularly preferred wire covering in the aerospace industry as well as being used for all sorts of computer cabling applications. This is because the plastic offers superb dielectric properties and can be formed into an insulating material easily. Taken overall, wiring insulation accounts for a significant portion of all new PTFE that is made in a given year.

Moving Parts

In industrial settings, PTFE's lubricating qualities make it an excellent choice when moving parts are needed which will come into contact with one another. Therefore, you will often find that it has been used to form gears and cogs as well as things like slide plates. In such settings, it has been shown to perform better than other thermoplastics, such as nylon, because it offers less friction in contact. For this reason, it is frequently used for plain bearings, too.

Pipes and Hose Parts

PTFE possesses an extremely low reactivity rating, which makes it ideal for passing fluids through, including water. It also has a high-temperature rating, so PTFE is much-used as a liner in hoses and assembly joints. In industrial pipelines, PTFE comes into its own, especially when it is utilised for pumping chemicals which might be acidic or alkaline. The low friction quality it has allows for better flow rates of viscous liquids. Car makers, therefore, tend to use it in applications such as brake pipes.


PTFE is widely used as a fabric protector for items of clothing. It can be used to repel stains on things like jackets, for example. A related formula of PTFE, Gore-Tex has been developed commercially to provide a breathable membrane which repels water, as well.


21 April 2017

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