What is PTFE?

Yesterday I laid my cards on the table: I don’t know much about the industry. But I’m planning on learning here. And yesterday I mentioned PTFE hose. I know we sell it. But I don’t know what it is.

Evidently it stands for Polytetrafluoroethylene (I can see why they call it PTFE), but it’s probably better known as Teflon. Now we’re getting somewhere! I know Teflon. Turns out it does more than improve the ratio of scrambled eggs on your plate vs. scrambled eggs still in the pan. 

Such a shame when eggs go to waste. Thanks, PTFE!

History/Random Knowledge

PTFE was accidentally discovered in 1938 by Roy J. Plunkett while he was working in New Jersey for DuPont. (As a Jersey Boy, I am contractually obligated to share this detail.)

As Plunkett attempted to make a new refrigerant, the gas in its pressure bottle stopped flowing before the bottle’s weight had dropped to the point signaling “empty.” Since Plunkett was measuring the amount of gas used by weighing the bottle, he became curious as to the source of the weight, and finally resorted to sawing the bottle apart. He found the bottle’s interior coated with a waxy white material that was oddly slippery. Analysis showed that it was polymerized perfluoroethylene, with the iron from the inside of the container having acted as a catalyst at high pressure. Kinetic Chemicals patented the new fluorinated plastic (analogous to the already known polyethylene) in 1941, and registered the Teflon trademark in 1945.

What is it used for?

The major application of PTFE, consuming about 50% of production, is for the insulation of wiring in aerospace and computer applications (e.g. hookup wire, coaxial cables). This application exploits the fact that PTFE has excellent dielectric (insulation) properties.

In industrial applications, owing to its low friction, PTFE is used for plain bearings, gears, slide plates, seals, gaskets, bushing, and more applications with sliding action of parts, where it outperforms acetal and nylon.

Why we care about it, though, is because of its extreme non-reactivity and high temperature rating, PTFE is often used as the liner in hose assemblies, expansion joints, and in industrial pipe lines, particularly in applications using acids, alkalis, or other chemicals. Its frictionless qualities allow improved flow of highly viscous liquids – like paint!

It’s the top-of-the-line and the best choice if you need a job done right!

From our website:

The mid-range pressure stainless steel braided hose is available in two different cores, smooth bore and convoluted. Smoothbore stainless steel hose provides for easy assembly and fast flow. The convoluted PTFE hose inner tube provides added flexibility to the larger sized diameter pressure hoses to solve your fluid dynamics needs. This stainless steel flexible hose has the lowest coefficient of friction of any polymer and resists deterioration, which is why it is commonly used with harsh chemicals.  If a higher PSI pressure hose is required, try one of our thermoplastic covered PTFE hose.  This series of hose is available from 1/8″ ID to 1/2″ ID and rated up to 5,000 PSI.

Our PTFE tubing is a low-pressure solution for more than just your fluid handling needs. This tubing is a natural color and easy to clean due to a non-contamination property. If your temperature requirements range up to 500°F (260°C) then our PTFE hose is certainly the recommended choice. Paired with our fully stainless steel reusable fittings, it will solve all of your fluid mechanics requirements and much more.

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