Now, we’re all familiar with Teflon as the game-changing material that coats our pans that cooks our eggs in the morning.
However, if you are actually IN the ‘non-stick coating’ industry then chances are you’re well aware of its properties too.
As the flexible and high-performance substance with low water absorption, excellent resistance to heat, low temperature, and strong anti-adhesion properties making it ideal for many different uses…
(Even out of the kitchen)
However, even fewer people know how Teflon & PTFE is manufactured in the first place…
And It All Starts With TFE…
The first step is the synthesizing of Tetrafluoroethylene or TFE.
It has three main ingredients of hydrofluoric, fluorspar, and chloroform which are combined in a chemical reaction chamber. The chamber is heated at high temperatures to produce a cooled and distilled gas to remove any form of impurities.
This is then turned into liquid form where it is ready for the next stage:
Next, the chamber is filled with clean, purified water, and a liquefied TFE will be directed to the reaction chamber where it meets with the reaction initiator (Iron) and starts to polymerize into the polymer known as polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) or Teflon.
Circulation of cold water will cool the reaction chamber and the PFTE will form solid grains that can freely float on the surface of the water.
The Teflon will then dry up and it’s sent into a mill that grinds the product with rotating blades.
The end product will be a fine and consistent powder, like wheat flour, and extremely difficult to mold. If it is not correctly sieved, the powder will have both air pockets and large lumps.
So, through a process known as ‘Agglomeration‘, the powder will be converted into large granules.
To do this some manufacturers will blend the PTFE powder with a solvent like acetone. It is then dropped into a rotating drum where the grains mix up and stick together. Small pellets will be formed and then taken to an oven and dried.
At this stage, the pellets can then be molded into different parts using a wide variety of techniques. However, as the final use for this product will be done ‘off-site’ for logistics and transportation purposes Teflon is usually precast into billets.
This is when the PTFE is placed in stainless steel molds which are then compressed using a hydraulic press and heated at higher temperatures in an oven for several hours.
The resultant material will become gel-like, and the PTFE is cooled into steel molds. The finished billet will then be packaged and delivered to target customers who will cut it up into smaller pieces for further processing.
Now ask any Chemist and I’m sure they’ll be the first to tell you that it’s a lot more complicated than how It’s been explained above as this process can differ due to the particular properties the manufacturer is looking for in the end product.
At Product Release, we have the expertise to guide you in the right direction when it comes to finding the non-stick coating that is right for you.
If you would like to know more about how Product Release could help your industry, please don’t hesitate to contact one of our experts, who can discuss your problem and recommend an innovative solution that will not only help you now but will minimise future damage or repairs, giving you peace of mind.