Teflon is the brand name of the miracle substance Polytetrafluoro Ethelyne, or PTFE. Very few people know Teflon got its start in The Manhattan Project, and not the kitchen.
They had to contain Uranium and other corrosive materials, but how? The answer was the recently discovered material, Teflon! The Manhattan Project used PTFE to coat valves and other possible leak points on the nuclear bomb.
Today, most people have forgotten PTFE’s storied past. Now we pretty much think of PTFE as that stuff that keeps bacon from sticking to the pan. But as the Manhattan Project proves, PTFE Teflon is so much more.
Read on to learn 5 other interesting ways the world uses PTFE material today!
Ski bindings are the part of the ski that straps your foot to the ski. Sometimes it is necessary to be able to slip out of those bindings to prevent injury during a fall. Teflon makes that possible.
Ski manufacturers use PTFE Teflon as a non-mechanical Anti-Friction Device (AFD). This is a fancy way to say Teflon reduces friction and allows the bindings to come off easier when it counts. It is a safety measure.
Ski Bindings are not the only way in which the ski industry makes use of Teflon. Wax uses Teflon materials as well. When worked into the surfaces of skis and snowboards, PTFE based wax reduces friction yet again
This time, however, this reduction in friction is for speed, not safety.
The automotive industry is a huge fan of PTFE polymer. And why not?! Vehicle manufacturers use Teflon to resolve a laundry list of issues ranging from excessive noise to aesthetics.
It is like the duct tape of the automotive Industry.
Go outside and take a look at your windshield wipers. Teflon coats them to keep the wipers from sticking to your windshield. And your door seals? Also coated.
The versatility of Teflon makes it a go-to fix when solving problems involving seals, connectors, and pistons. This is true not only in the automotive world but in any industry that uses complex machinery.
As an example, in the automotive industry, even the machinery used to make the cars uses some form of Teflon. The molds use Teflon to keep materials from sticking. Teflon coatings on machinery reduce friction and prevent wear.
This stuff is everywhere.
Fabric and Carpet Protection
Carpets, furniture, clothes, curtains, drapes, and bedding. Each of these items is starting to reap the benefits of Teflon.
Textile manufacturers have gotten wise to the game. They now use Teflon materials to protect all manner of fabric from stains and dirt. PTFE material can even make fabrics waterproof.
The use of PTFE in fabric also has the added benefit of making them easier to clean. Now your pans aren’t the only thing in your house that is non-stick. So are your kid’s jeans!
There is a myth that Teflon is what makes armor-piercing bullets pierce armor. As we have already implied, this is only a myth.
It is true. Armor-piercing bullets use PTFE in their production, but it is not why they pierce armor. It is actually used on brass bullets to reduce damage to the rifling of a gun when shot.
Before 1960, most bullets were lead, but Lead is a weak metal. It bounces right off most types of armor, whereas brass bullets pierce right through.
Unfortunately, when you shoot a brass bullet, it destroys the barrel. Once people started using PTFE material on brass bullets, the rifling stopped getting damaged.
An NBC special is responsible for the myth. The special focused on Teflon instead of what actually caused them to penetrate. Thus brass is rarely considered the culprit in this scenario.
Thread Seal Tape
Thread seal tape. Plumber’s tape. PTFE Tape. Teflon tape. Call it what you will. It is all the same amazing stuff.
PTFE polymer has all but revolutionized the plumbing industry. It used to be that plumbers had to resort to using messy pastes to seal leaky pipes. Now they can turn to the much cleaner alternative, Thread Seal Tape.
Thread seal tape has many advantages. As we have already discussed, Teflon reduces friction. You might ask, “how is that relevant to plumbing?”
Well for several reasons:
Less friction means you can tighten pipes even more since the threads will slide easier. The reduced friction also makes pipes easier to unscrew.
The best part about Thread Seal tape though is its ease of use. The manufacturers package Teflon taps makes it easy to unwind and wrap it around pipes.
Goodbye, unsightly putty. We no longer need you.
The Future of PTFE Material
We believe that humanity has only just started scratching the surface of how we can benefit from the many uses of Teflon. We do not think about it, but Teflon is now in almost every product we own.
The versatility of PTFE polymer is astounding. It is tough, flexible and self-lubricating. It reduces friction, water-proofs fabrics and prevents sticking.
Improvements have been made to Skiis, cars, clothes, tape, and bullets by Teflon. And this is just the short list of items that have been improved by the use of Teflon.
We discover more uses each and every day and we see so many more discoveries yet to come.
If you have an issue you think Teflon might solve, reach out to us today for a consultation. If you are uncertain of where to start, you can find a list questions to ask during your consultation here.