No matter how stubbornly the rumour persists: Polytetrafluoroethylene, or in short: PTFE, commonly known under the name TeflonTM, is not an aerospace invention. Nevertheless, it plays an important role in a large mission of the US space authority NASA thanks to us right now.
Its discovery was an accident, in fact: Dr. Roy Plunkett discovered the white, wax-like wonder powder with its unique properties back in 1938, when he was looking for the optimal coolant for refrigerators on the order of his client DuPont, who later made PTFE a globally successful product and the favourite of all housewifes under the name TeflonTM. He was experimenting with gaseous tetrafluoroethylene (TFE).
One morning, the young scientist was barely able to believe his eyes: There was no gas left in the test cylinder, but white powder was flowing out. The gas had turned into PTFE. This accidental finding has literally conquered the world. We wouldn’t be able to imagine our everyday lives, and in particular our technical applications, today without PTFE.
2018 therefore is the 80th birthday of the most-frequently used fluoroplastic. The fascinating options PTFE offers are still far from being used to capacity, even though we have been dealing with this material exclusively since 1966.
Berghof Fluoroplastics has processed virginal and later also modified PTFE and their compounds into semi-finished and finished products for applications in many different industries for more than half a century. By supplementing PTFE with porous and optical properties, we have successfully expanded our performance range centered on innovative material solutions.