The benefits and uses of PTFE

Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) is a remarkable polymeric material. Not only is it highly chemical resistant, durable, flexible, and electrically and thermally resistive, it is also an extremely cost-effective option for high-performance seals and ‘O’ rings. Here, TRP Polymer Solutions talks you through PTFE’s uses and properties.

What is PTFE?

Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) is a durable and flexible elastomer of average tensile strength but remarkable chemical resistance, as well as excellent thermally and electrically resistive properties. At a molecular level, PTFE consists of a chain of carbon atoms with two fluorine atoms bonded to each carbon. These fluorine atoms surround the carbon chain, creating a dense molecule with very strong carbon-fluorine bonds and a polymer structure that is inert to most chemicals.

The benefits of PTFE

Due to PTFE’s prevalent carbon-fluorine bonds – widely regarded as the strongest single bond in organic chemistry – it offers high flexural strength and is chemically inert. It also provides excellent electrical insulation and dielectric strength; is extremely weatherable and non-adhesive; is water resistant; offers high-temperature resistance and has the lowest coefficient of friction of any solid.

PTFE also features a broad operational temperature range, from -30°C to +200°C, has a hardness range of 70 to 85 IRHD and is easy to clean. Best of all, given all of these admirable traits, PTFE it is a relatively cost-effective elastomeric option for seals and ‘O’ rings. The disadvantage of PTFE as a sealing material is that it will creep under compression. TRP have solved this problem by using a bonded rubber core to energise PTFE seals, providing resistance to compression. The core material is selected depending upon the temperature requirement for the seal.

What is PTFE used for?

PTFE’s beneficial properties enable it to be used in a wide range of applications, such as seals (including PTFE ‘O’ rings), PTFE gaskets, valves, wire insulation, insulated transformers, bearings, surface coatings, chemical processing equipment, chemical transport and PTFE rubber diaphragms – to name but a few.

PTFE’s chemical resistance

The chemical resistance of PTFE is potentially its most impressive characteristic. Simply put, there are no solvents that can dissolve PTFE at room temperature. In fact, barring a handful of chemical agents, including chlorine trifluoride and elementary fluorine, PTFE’s only real achilles heel is its relatively poor resistance to high energy radiation, which causes the breakdown of the PTFE molecule.

Why Choose PTFE sealing products from TRP Polymer Solutions?

TRP Polymer Solutions has been a market leader in elastomeric sealing products for the last 35 years. We work with you to formulate high-performance PTFE to rubber bonded solutions that are designed to meet the precise requirements of your application.

We create new polymer materials, using a variety of high-tech techniques (including component design CAD, polymer FEA, feasibility DFMEA and Process Failure Mode Effects Analysis (PFMEA), developing and testing prototypes along the way, before bringing your specified PTFE product to production.

The technical team at TRP Polymer Solutions can answer any further questions you may have about our PTFE product range. Please contact our technical team today on 01432 268899 or email us at for more information or to discuss your application requirements.