March 2011

PTFE Helps Advance Critical Energy Industry Requirements

The energy industry as a whole presents an incredibly varied set of challenges when it comes to material requirements. From the temperatures and pressures encountered deep downhole in oil wells to the friction requirements at the top of a wind turbine, material demands are constant only in that they are all stringent. There are several material challenges within the energy industry which are all particularly well suited to being solved with the use of polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE). PTFE provides a solution in corrosive environments, high temperatures and situations where a low coefficient of friction is required. It is also used where either electrical non-conductivity or conductivity is required through the use of fillers. More.

Inside this issue

PTFE Helps Advance Critical Energy Industry Requirements
Technical Advisory
Sustainability: Did You Know ...

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PTFE — Fluoropolymer Workhorse
PTFE has an impressive array of physical properties which make it the optimum material of choice for applications ranging from wire and cable insulation to medical catheter linings to active wear fabric. These properties include:

Lowest coefficient of friction
Excellent low loss for electrical applications
Superior heat resistance
Inherently UV resistant
Excellent chemical resistance
FDA compliant in virgin form
Low smoke and flame characteristics

There are also some characteristics which can limit the use of PTFE, including relatively low mechanical properties and the inability of materials to adhere to the surface. More

Technical Advisory

PTFE was the first fluorocarbon. It is the most chemically resistant plastic known. Only a few chemicals react with it.

Its mechanical properties are low compared to other engineering plastics, but its properties remain at a useful level over a great temperature range — from -400 to 500°F
(-240 to 260°C).
Mechanical properties can be improved by the addition of fillers such as glass fiber, carbon, graphite, molybdenum disulfide and bronze.
It is difficult to make anything adhere to PTFE. A material may stick to it, but the material can be peeled off or rubbed off.
PTFE is not melt processible; instead it is processed by paste and ram extrusion or compression molding.

Sustainability of Plastic: Did You Know…

The use of plastics in cars has lightweighted the average automobile by 450 pounds. The fuel efficiency derived by this plastics’ benefit is 132 gallons for every 62,000 miles driven.

Without plastics’ resistance to corrosion, the product life of some major appliances would be reduced by nearly 40 percent. By helping them last longer, plastics keep appliances and other durable goods out of the waste stream.
You could carry home 1,000 oz. of soda in 2 lbs. of plastic packaging, but it would take 27 lbs. of glass, 8 lbs. of steel and 3 lbs. of aluminum to do the same job.
From a manufacturing, transportation and end of life standpoint, replacing plastics with other materials would require 57 percent more energy consumption and 61 percent more greenhouse gas emissions.

More Plastics Resources

Introduction to Plastics, 11th Edition
Just released! The new edition of IAPD’s Introduction to Plastics is an indispensible reference manual for learning about plastics, their properties, how they're made and their applications. It includes the latest versions of the IAPD Plastics Properties Tables and IAPD Plastics Rectangle, excellent tools for selecting the right plastic materials for a project. Order your copy today.

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Designing with Plastics is published by the International Association of Plastics Distribution. While every effort has been made for accuracy, IAPD encourages you to verify information with a plastics distributor to ensure you select the correct plastic products to meet your needs.