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The History of Teflon®

DuPont website

tetrafluoroethylene / polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE)

Also See:

The story of Teflon® began April 6, 1938, at DuPont's Jackson Laboratory in New Jersey. DuPont chemist, Dr. Roy J. Plunkett, was working with gases related to Freon® refrigerants, another DuPont product. Upon checking a frozen, compressed sample of tetrafluoroethylene, he and his associates discovered that the sample had polymerized spontaneously into a white, waxy solid to form polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE).

PTFE is inert to virtually all chemicals and is considered the most slippery material in existence. These properties have made it one of the most valuable and versatile technologies ever invented, contributing to significant advancements in areas such as aerospace, communications, electronics, industrial processes and architecture. As DuPont registered trademark Teflon®, it has become a familiar household name, recognized worldwide for the superior non-stick properties associated with its use as a coating on cookware and as a soil and stain repellant for fabrics and textile products.

The Teflon® trademark was coined by DuPont and registered in 1945; the first products were sold commercially under the trademark beginning in 1946. Applications and product innovations snowballed quickly. Today, the family of Teflon® fluoropolymers from DuPont consists of: PTFE, the original resin; FEP, introduced in 1960; Tefzel® ETFE in 1970; and PFA, in 1972.

The invention of PTFE has been described as "an example of serendipity, a flash of genius, a lucky accident ... even a mixture of all three." Whatever the exact circumstances of the discovery, one thing is certain: PTFE revolutionized the plastics industry and, in turn, gave birth to limitless applications of benefit to mankind. In 1990, U.S. President George Bush presented the National Medal of Technology to DuPont for the company's pioneering role in the development and commercialization of man-made polymers over the last half century. The citation lists Teflon® fluoropolymer resin as one of these special products.

Dr. Roy Plunkett (1911-1994) has been recognized the world over by scientific, academic and civic communities. He was inducted into the Plastics Hall of Fame in 1973, and, in 1985, into the National Inventors' Hall of Fame joining such distinguished scientists and innovators as Thomas Edison, Louis Pasteur and the Wright Brothers.

The spirit of invention with DuPont fluoropolymers that was led by Dr. Plunkett is commemorated globally with the DuPont Plunkett Awards For Innovation With Teflon®.

source: http://www.dupont.com/teflon/newsroom/history.html 24jan02


About DuPont Fluoroproducts

Fluoroproducts is a DuPont strategic business unit (SBU) that manufactures and markets high-performance chemicals and polymers worldwide, serving customers in the telecommunications, aerospace, refrigeration, air conditioning, pharmaceutical, automotive, electronics, chemical processing, and housewares markets.

1999 Revenue: About $1.5 billion
Employees: 3,200 worldwide

Major Products and Brands
Major product lines include Suva® refrigerants, Teflon® and Tefzel®fluoropolymer resins, SilverStone® non-stick finishes, Tedlar® polyvinyl fluoride film, Formacel® blowing agents, Vertrel® cleaning agents, Dymel® propellants, Zyron® electronic gases, and Nafion® membrane products.

Major Markets
Major markets include refrigeration, air conditioning, pharmaceutical, automotive, electronics, chemical processing, housewares, telecommunications, and aerospace.

Global Administrative and Manufacturing Facilities
Corpus Christi and La Porte, Texas; Louisville, Kentucky; Wilmington, Delaware; Parkersburg and Belle, West Virginia; Fayetteville, North Carolina; Buffalo, New York; Deepwater and Parlin, New Jersey; Mississauga and Maitland, Canada; Geneva, Switzerland; Dordrecht, Netherlands; Mechelen, Belgium; Sao Paulo, Brazil; Tokyo, Japan; Hong Kong and Shenzhen, China; Madurai, India; and *Shimizu, and *Chiba, Japan. (*Joint venture facilities operated by Mitsui DuPont Fluorochemicals.)

Business Leadership
Vice President and General Manager: Richard J. Angiullo
Global Business Director, Fluoropolymers and Nafion®: Timothy P. McCann
Global Business Director, Fluoropochemicals: David R. Trerotola
Global Business Director, FluoroSurfacing: Jack Bailey
Regional Director, Asia Pacific: Alex S. Campbell
Regional Director, South America: John Jansen
Regional Director, Europe: Pierre D. Chaigneau

Corporate Information
DuPont is a science company, delivering science-based solutions that make a difference in people's lives in food and nutrition; health care; apparel; home and construction; electronics; and transportation. Founded in 1802, the company operates in 70 countries and has 94,000 employees. For nearly 200 years, our core values have remained constant: commitment to safety, health and the environment; integrity and high ethical standards; and treating people with fairness and respect.

01/01


Teflon® Facts and Trivia

PTFE fluoropolymer resin was discovered by DuPont chemist Roy J. Plunkett in 1938. The same year, DuPont chemist Wallace H. Carothers invented nylon. The Teflon® trademark was registered to DuPont in 1945. Nylon was never registered as a trademark and was given to all to use.

Teflon® fluoropolymer resin is used in the manufacture of DuPont branded nonstick coatings: Teflon®, SilverStone®, SilverStone® Xtra, SilverStone® Select, SilverStone® Professional and Autograph.

Teflon® is used for O-ring gaskets and tape for the protective case housing the original Emancipation Proclamation, delivered in 1862 by U.S. President Abraham Lincoln.

Teflon® has been involved in the U.S. space program since the program's infancy. When astronaut Neil Armstrong took his historic "giant leap for mankind" in 1969, the moon module included numerous applications involving Teflon® resin, including space suits and blankets, heat shields, insulation and cargo hold liners.

Teflon® is used in many applications for computer chip manufacture because it is very inert and non-reactive. It's used in filters to keep air clean, in chip carriers, and virtually all tubing and piping in the semiconductor industry. DuPont Teflon® is the dominant brand used in the industry and DuPont has supplied Teflon® to that market since its inception.

Teflon® was one of the discoveries cited when DuPont received the U.S. National Medal of Technology from U.S. President Bush in 1990 for its role in the development and commercialization of man-made polymers in the 20th century.

As a fiber, Teflon® is used to manufacture socks that reduce friction and blisters. These are especially crucial for diabetics, people with circulatory problems, geriatric needs, obesity and sensitive skin. They are made by Comfort Socks and were recently approved by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration.

Technology based on Teflon® also is used to repel dirt and spills from DuPont StainMaster® carpet, which is specially engineered to protect carpet from tracked in dirt and spilled food and drinks. As a result, carpets stay 40% cleaner, vacuum cleaner efficiency is increased and carpet looks new longer.

PTFE fluoropolymer resin is listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the world's most slippery substance.

Teflon® is used to insulate thousands of miles of data communications cables because of its outstanding properties, heat and chemical resistance.

Other unique uses of Teflon® include: wiper blades and refills, leashes, collars, harnesses and belts, nail enamel treatment (Sally Hansen), bicycle lubricants, hosiery (Teflon® is made as a fiber, too), among others.

Teflon® is used to coat fiberglass fabrics for permanent architectural structures such as the Pontiac Silverdome in Detroit, Michigan, and the Orange Bowl at Syracuse University in Syracuse, New York.

Major fashion designers and brands that use Teflon® fabric protector include: Hugo Boss, Prada, Ralph Lauren, Nautica, Yeohlee, Kenneth Cole, Woolrich, Pendleton, Koret, The Gap, J. Crew, L.L. Bean, Eddie Bauer, Robert Allen Beacon Hill Fabrics and Lee Jofa Fabrics, among others.

As a liquid, Teflon® repels water and stains for the apparel, home fashions, furniture, and uniform markets. The Teflon® forms a molecular shield around each fiber, guarding them from oil and water-based stains, dust and soil. Undetectable by sight, smell or touch, Teflon® protects virtually all kinds of fabrics — silk, wool, wool-blends, cotton, linen, velvet, heavy wovens, microfibers and both smooth and rugged fabrics — without affecting their color, feel or breathability.

Teflon® industrial coatings can be used on carbon steel, aluminum, stainless steel, steel alloys, brass and magnesium, as well as non-metallics such as glass, fiberglass, some rubber and plastics. The versatility of these coatings allows almost unlimited application to a wide variety of part sizes and configurations.

Teflon® is in the Statue of Liberty in New York harbor as an insulator and lubricator between the copper skin and the stainless steel skeleton.

Teflon® in a composite sheet form with graphite is used for bearing pads in the George Washington Bridge in New York State to prevent corrosion of the steel plates.


Tetrafluoroethylene CAS #116-14-3 National Toxicology Program Chemical Repository

History of PTFE

The story of PTFE began April 6, 1938, at DuPont's Jackson Laboratory in New Jersey. DuPont chemist, Dr. Roy J. Plunkett, was working with gases related to Freon® refrigerants, another DuPont product. Upon checking a frozen, compressed sample of tetrafluoroethylene, he and his associates discovered that the sample had polymerized spontaneously into a white, waxy solid to form polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE).
   
PTFE is inert to virtually all chemicals and is considered the most slippery material in existence. These properties have made it one of the most valuable and versatile technologies ever invented, contributing to significant advancements in areas such as aerospace, communications, electronics, industrial processes and architecture. PTFE has become a familiar household product, recognized worldwide for the superior non-stick properties associated with its use as a coating on cookware and as a soil and stain repellant for fabrics and textile products.
   
The Teflon® trademark was coined by DuPont and registered in 1945; the first products were sold commercially under the trademark beginning in 1946.
    The invention of PTFE has been described as "an example of serendipity, a flash of genius, a lucky accident...even a mixture of all three". Whatever the exact circumstances of the discovery, one thing is certain: PTFE revolutionized the plastics industry and, in turn, gave birth to limitless applications of benefit to mankind.
   
Dr. Roy Plunkett (1911-1994) has been recognized the world over by scientific, academic and civic communities. He was inducted into the Plastics Hall of Fame in 1973, and, in 1985, into the National Inventors' Hall of Fame joining such distinguished scientists and innovators as Thomas Edison, Louis Pasteur and the Wright Brothers.   http://www.fluoropolymers.org/About/teflon.htm  (URL no longer valid)


Fluoridation: Governmentally Approved Poison
Supplement to The Art of Getting Well
http://www.garynull.com/Documents/Arthritis/Flouridation_Governmentally_Approved_Poison.htm


The coating that makes cooking utensil non-stick is called  teflon. The scientific name for it is polytetrafluoroethylene.

 

Under normal circumstances, the use of tefloncoated utensils does not pose a danger to humans, but gross overheating can result in the decomposition of this coating leading to the formation of various types of oxidised products; some of which like perfluoisobutylene and carbonylchloride are said to be toxic.

 

The types of oxidised products formed from over-heating of this coating depends on the temperature.

 

At temperatures between 300°C and 500°C, an unidentified waxy particulate fume may be produced.

 

Inhalation of this fume is believed to cause chills, fever, profuse sweating, cough, difficulty in breathing, chest tightness and flu-like symptoms.

 

This condition, which is referred to as 'polymer fume fever', is generally self-limiting and may last up to 1-2 days with the exception of chest tightness that may persist for a number of weeks.

 

At temperatures below 200°C, there is no evidence to indicate that decomposition of this coating occurs.

 

 

Source: The New Straits Times Press (Malaysia) Berhad
             April 22, 1996

http://prn.usm.my/bulletin/nst/1996/nst23.html (URL no longer valid)

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