Ever wondered what makes your pans or pots nonstick? Most likely, you have. A thought about the coating that gives your cookware that nonstick property must have crossed your mind. Can it be ordinary paint?
Well, the material used to make that possible is known as Teflon. Teflon is a tradename for the plastic material named polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE). PTFE is a type of plastic known as fluoropolymers and is made up of tetrafluoroethylene molecules (TFE).
Teflon has exceptional properties and capabilities that make it one of the most sought-after materials in industrial applications today. Teflon coated items carry more than one benefit. The material can be used on aluminum, steel, brass, and magnesium. It can also be used on fiberglass, plastics, glass, and some types of rubber.
What Makes Teflon Special?
Teflon is stable at low temperatures and has a very high melting point. It’s very resistant to corrosion because only a blazing fluorine gas or special molten metals can dissolve it.
The material is very non-reactive and doesn’t get wet when in contact with water because of the high electronegativity of fluorine. It’s also slippery and has one of the lowest friction rates by a solid. This makes it a suitable material for coating machine parts that often come into contact with extreme heat, friction, and wear.
Some of the common areas of application for Teflon coating include:
· Making cookware and utensils such as pots and pans non-stick. It also makes them reliable and very durable.
· Insulating cables
· Protecting machinery components from excessive wear and tear
· Preventing corrosion in reactors and other plant equipment exposed to corrosive chemicals
· Making corrosion resistant laboratory equipment
· Impacting stain-resistance to fabrics, outdoor signs, and carpets
· Making of medical equipment like vascular grafts and catheters
There are many more areas where Teflon paint or Teflon powder can be applied. It can even be used in making inner soles for running shoes. Their low friction makes the inside of the shoe comfortable and smooth, preventing your feet from getting blisters.
Making Teflon Coated Items
The first step when applying Teflon to any equipment is preparing the surface for coating. This ensures that the coat adheres perfectly to the item. It also guarantees that the coat is smooth and sturdy, and helps extend the service life of the coated object.
Preparation starts by working on an object’s surface to make it ready for coating. A process called grit blasting is employed. The process involves the use of high-pressure steam with some grit particles to remove contaminants on the surface of an object.
The high-pressure steam also has abrasive materials that are used to add texture to the surface of the equipment. The type of grit particles in each process depends on the coating to be applied and its purpose. One of the common materials used for the process is aluminum oxide, but there are many more choices available.
A rougher surface on the surface of an item makes it easier for Teflon to attach itself. To create an even stronger bond, a resin or another bonding agent is used to help Teflon stick better on the surface.
When the surface is ready, it’s time to apply the PTFE coating. There are various ways through which a Teflon coat can be applied. It all depends on the equipment available and the layer of coating desired.
A Teflon coat can be applied using traditional spray equipment and techniques. It is undertaken using a spray machine that utilizes compressed air for paint application. The coating is put into a spray gun, which is then held perpendicular to the surface being coated and sprayed in a rectangular motion.
A spray gun expels the coat as a smooth and steady stream of small liquid droplets. When evenly sprayed, the result is an even coat with a glossy and shiny finish.
Conventional Teflon spraying is an effective method that doesn’t need special equipment. It makes it easy to apply coats on weirdly-shaped items. Plus, gravity, suction, or pressure spray equipment can all be used for this process.
But, it’s essential to ensure that the air-lines in the spray equipment are filtered. If not, they could contaminate compressed air with water and oil, resulting in a sub-par Teflon coating.
To Teflon coat large volumes of equipment, an automated spray method is necessary. The technique of electrostatic coating works in the same manner as conventional spray guns, but modified guns are used in this case. These spray guns require expertise and experience to handle, but they deliver faster coat application and better finish results.
Modified spray guns negatively charge the coating droplets coming out of their tip with an electrode. This makes the droplets stick better on the surface of equipment because it’s not electrically charged. That reduces paint overspray and can result in substantial cost savings, especially when coating a large batch of products.
The disadvantage of this process is that it requires special skills to handle. On equipment with complex designs, the coat may not penetrate hidden areas. Plus, modified spray guns require safety measures to be taken to protect personnel from electric shocks and static electricity build-up.
Teflon coating may also be carried out with powder coating machines. The application method used will depend on the type of material at play.
We are specialists at conventional spray coating and electrostatic coating.
Curing Items After Coating
After application, the equipment is placed in a curing oven and left to dry out at a high temperature. Curing is vital to ensure a teflon coated item has a fine surface finish.
Consult Us for Professional Polymer Coating
If you want your equipment or products to be Teflon coated, we are here to help. With over 30 years of experience with Teflon coatings and fluoropolymer coatings, we guarantee you specialized professional service. We’ll help you choose the right coating for your application and ensure you get your desired results.
Contact us today to schedule an appointment or learn more on Teflon coating!