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What is the difference between Teflon and PTFE?

Teflon™ vs PTFE

The sealing industry is full of trade names, technical phrases, and acronyms, which makes it hard to know what is what. In this learning journal, we will explain what Teflon™ and PTFE are, and also the differences.

PTFE – what is it?

PTFE is a carbon and fluorine synthetic polymer – Polytetrafluoroethylene. It is obtained from Tetrafluoroethylene (TFE) and presents a number of very distinctive characteristics that make it very functional and practical for use in a wide range of applications. These include:

  • Water-resistant – handy in cooking
  • Resistant to a wide range of chemicals – chemicals or solvents are not an obstacle for PTFE
  • Low friction – nothing sticks to PTFE due to its coefficient of friction being the lowest out of all solids
  • Very broad temperature range – the melting point of approx. +327°C which makes it virtually unbreakable in extreme temperatures
  • Flexible and bendable – even at low temperatures, easy to use on a diversity of surfaces without it being deprived of its durability

Some applications, in which you can find Teflon:

  • Wiper blades
  • Hairstyling tools
  • Nail polish
  • Non-stick cookware
  • Pipework
  • Containers
  • Fabric and carpet protection
  • Chemical and steel industries

This shows that all the exceptional characteristics of PTFE make it very useful and widely used in commercial as well as domestic applications.

Examples of the most demanding PTFE applications:

  • Coating the inside of pipe works, which carry very hot substances, or aggressive chemicals
  • Lubricants
  • Artificial body parts – PTFE is unlikely to be rejected by the body due to its neutral disposition
  • It was also used to seal gaskets holding uranium in the Atomic Bomb

Teflon™ – what is it?

Teflon™ was discovered in 1938, developed by DuPont Co, and administered by Chemours. In 1045 Chemours trademarked the name Teflon™, and in 1946 they started selling products coated in this heatproof and non-stick material. Teflon™ was discovered by scientist Dr. Roy Plunkett as he worked on developing a new refrigerant. He then noticed that the TFE gas has escaped from the bottle he was using; however, the bottle hasn’t lost its weight and did not feel empty. Therefore, to find out the cause of this phenomenon, he examined the inside of the bottle and noticed it was covered in a slippery, strong, and waxy material – it was Teflon.

Teflon™ is a synthetic polymer, which is containing carbon and fluorine – this, therefore, makes it Polytetrafluoroethylene. YES, Teflon™ is a PTFE. Teflon™ is a trademarked name for PTFE, owned by Chemours.

What’s the difference between Teflon™ and PTFE?

There is NO DIFFERENCE. They are both exactly the same thing, the only difference between them is the name.

If you require further information about our range of PTFE/Teflon™ seals, please click here or contact a member of the team.

E & OE. M Barnwell Services endeavour to make sure that all content is correct. We have gathered this information from manufacturing partners.