PTFE, better known as Teflon, turned 80 this year

Did you know that one of the most commonly used polymers in recent decades was accidentally discovered in 1938?

PTFE (Polytetrafluoroethylene, commonly known as Teflon) was a result of an attempt by Roy Plunkett, of the New Jersey laboratories of DuPont, to make a new chlorofluorocarbon refrigerant.

During this process the tetrafluoraethylene gas in its pressure bottle stopped flowing before the bottle’s weight had dropped to the point of signaling “empty”. Plunkett was measuring the amount of gas by weighing the bottle and became curious as to the source of the weight.

He finally resorted to sawing the bottle apart. The bottle’s interior was coated with a waxy white material that was very slippery. Once analysed it was shown to be perfluoroethylene.

Kinetic Chemicals patented the new fluorinated plastic in 1941, and registered the Teflon trademark in 1945.

By 1948, DuPont, which formed Kinetic Chemicals, in partnership with General Motors, was producing over 900 tons of Teflon brand PTFE per year.

Over the next decade, Teflon was used as coating for non-stick cookware becoming a household name with patented brands such as Tefal and Happy Pan.

Due to its excellent dielectric properties, especially at high radio frequencies, it was used as an insulator in connector assemblies and cables; and in printed circuit boards used at microwave frequencies.

In industrial applications, owing to its low friction and high chemical resistance, PTFE is used for bushes, washers, gaskets, seals, slide plates, valve seats, tooling pins and much more.

Allplastics Engineering has been machining PTFE components over the last 44 years for a diverse range of industries including food, packaging, pharmaceutical, chemical, materials handling and transport.

For special applications where virgin PTFE is not suitable, Allplastics can provide glass filled, carbon filled and bronze filled PTFE.

If the PTFE is required to be bonded to steel a chemically etched surface can be requested on one side of the sheet.

Key features:

  • Superb chemical resistance
  • High temperature use 260°C
  • Lowest co-efficient of friction
  • Physiologically inert
  • Excellent electrical properties
  • Can deform (flow) under high loads


  • B/U washers
  • Gaskets
  • Rings
  • Chemical lines
  • Slide plates
  • Insulators
  • Glide rings & bushes
  • Tooling pins
  • Valve seats


Company: Allplastics

Phone: (02) 8038 2000


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