Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) is a synthetic fluoropolymer of tetrafluoroethylene.
Discovered accidentally by Roy Plunkett in 1938, while he working for DuPont. The most well-known brand name is Teflon by DuPont.
Firstly, PTFE is an extremely inert material. Unaffected by virtually every known chemical including most acids, alkalis and solvents. The exceptions are molten alkali metals, fluorine gas, and elemental fluorine
Furthermore It has one of the lowest coefficients of friction against any solid.
The lack of elasticity is often a disadvantage in these particular O-rings.
It has no “memory” and is subject to creep. This is advantageous when used as a seal, because the material creeps a small amount to conform to the mating surface. However, to keep the seal from creeping too much, fillers are used. As a result it can also improve wear resistance and reduce friction.
Metal springs are often utilised to apply continuous force to the seals. Resulting in good contact, while permitting a beneficially low percentage of creep.
PTFE is hydrophobic: neither water nor water-containing substances wet PTFE.
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