Properties and Uses of Fluon® PTFE Micropowders
The unique combination of properties of PTFE are well known throughout industry due to its ability to resist nearly all chemical attack and operate between temperatures in the cryogenic range up to 260°C. Many non-industrial people will also be aware of PTFE through its prevalence as a non-stick coating for frying pans and other cookware.
Some of the less well-known uses of PTFE harness its key properties in order to enhance the performance of other materials. This is especially true for a family of PTFE products called Micropowders. Straight out of the reactor, most PTFE products have a very high molecular weight, which is beneficial to applications where long service life at high temperatures or under harsh chemical conditions is required.
Fluon® PTFE Micropowders are manufactured by controlled degradation of virgin PTFE fine powder or granules, and this allows them to be used in different ways in order to enhance the friction and wear properties of other materials.
Thermoplastics, Thermosets and Composite Materials
The addition of Fluon® PTFE Micropowders to thermoplastics, thermosets and composite materials can help to increase the lifetime of components. Depending on the application, a loading of between 2 and 15% can impart the friction, wear and surface properties of PTFE onto the base material, which can drastically improve the longevity of parts, for instance under high mechanical loading such as gears. Even the addition of less than 1% can improve the processing of conventional thermoplastics without affecting the properties of the product.
Because of the low molecular weight of PTFE micropowders, they can be blended with the base material as a dry powder and processed as normal, e.g. extrusion, moulding, or additive manufacturing (commonly known as 3D printing).
Fluon® PTFE Micropowders offer improved rub and scuff resistance when used as additives compared to conventional anti-scuff treatments. In addition, PTFE micropowders are easy to disperse at room temperature to make processing cheaper and more efficient, and will stay dispersed in heat-set inks up to 260°C. Their lubricating properties reduce friction so they slide and stack easier, and won’t adhere to other coated surfaces.
Coatings and Industrial Finishes
PTFE micropowders can be added to many industrial finishes to improve surface lubrication, reduce unwanted adhesion and promote scuff resistance. For example, they impart abrasion resistance, corrosion resistance and anti-friction properties in cookware, and can be used to provide a non-stick surface.
PTFE micropowders can be used in decorative, masonry, aircraft and marine paints to improve their water resistance, physical robustness, and anti-fouling properties. These powders can also reduce flammability, helping to reduce dripping in the event of fire, and aids spreading properties in industrial paints.
Fluon® PTFE Micropowders can be added to elastomer formulations to improve the friction and wear properties compared with solid lubricants, waxes, stearates, soaps, plasticisers and oils.
Adding PTFE micropowders to elastomers during processing gives finished mouldings many of the surface characteristics of PTFE such as: improved mould release, lower coefficient of friction, wear resistance, elimination of stick slip and improved tear strength.
And because PTFE is virtually inert, it will not react with other fillers, coagents or curing agents in the rubber compound.
Oil and Grease
PTFE micropowders are ideal for improving lubrication and thus reducing wear in applications where extreme conditions are experienced. They are also used in applications where additives such as graphite and molybdenum sulphide are unsuitable.
In addition, PTFE additives offer cleanliness, which is critical for greases used in food and pharmaceutical applications. Because PTFE is non-flammable, it is ideal for applications where the lubricants are exposed to potential fire hazards.
Fluon® PTFE Lubricants Table
To learn more about how Fluon® PTFE Micropowders can help in your application, contact our team today.