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Tuesday, December 3, 2013

75th Anniversary of DuPont™ Teflon® PTFE Coating

This year marks the 75th anniversary of the invention of PTFE, later named and trademarked as DuPont™ Teflon®.  The “accidental invention” of Roy Plunkett, a DuPont chemist, is a flouropoloymer that is now used in virtually every manufacturing industry, service industry, military and many medical applications.  It has become an essential part of our everyday lives in the most unassuming of ways.

While researching new, safer chlorofluorocarbon refrigerants in 1938, Plunkett had tetrafluoroethylene gas stored in containers at dry-ice temperatures.  When he opened a container, onoe of the gas came out.  Instead, a white powder had formed inside, which was later found to be the polymer of tetrafluoroethylene (polytetrafluoroethlyene), known today as Teflon.

By 1941 PTFE had a patent process and trade name, Teflon®.  From its original development, Teflon® coatings have evolved from machine and industrial applications to its most famous use, a non-stick surface for cookware. Further development of fluoropolymers included the discovery of these other widely used fluorpolymers, ETFE, PFA, and FEP.  DuPont is still innovating today with their fluoropolymers.

Today, Teflon® coatings have expanded into many polymers found in industries as diverse as aerospace and pharmaceuticals.  This is a multi-million dollar industry that is sold in over 40 countries worldwide.

The impact of Teflon® coating is felt in most aspects of everyday life. Flouropoloymers are critical to new development in the fields of medicine, environmental conservation, energy solution, space exploration and civilian and military safety. 

Without Dr. Plunkett’s inadvertent discovery, the world as we know it would not exist and function as it does today.

See Intech's website for more information about industries where DuPont™ Teflon®  industrial coatings are used. 

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