5 Reasons to use a Fluoropolymer for your application
At Polyflon we often help customers in their material selection for their next project components. During this selection process the value of Fluoropolymers is frequently discussed, and the unique benefits that they can bring to customer’s specific applications are explored.
With customers ranging across multiple industries, including Pharmaceutical, Semi-Conductors, CPI and Food & Beverage, it is clear that fluoropolymer materials are the perfect solution for many different applications.
Here we discuss what Fluoropolymers are, why they are so special and the top reasons why they can make such a significant impact on your next application.
What is a Fluoropolymer?
Fluoropolymers (or Fluoroplastics) are a group of high performance polymers consisting of carbon and fluorine. These fluoropolymer materials can make a considerable difference to the quality of your manufactured products and also reduce costs for a wide range of applications. In comparison to non-fluorinated plastics, Fluoropolymers offer many properties that simply cannot be beaten.
5 Unique Characteristics of Fluoropolymers
1. Fluoropolymers Have Universal Chemical Compatibility
Almost all Fluoropolymers have an amazing resistance to acids, solvents and bases, which means that they can remain in contact with other substances without any detectable chemical reaction. This makes them the material of choice for applications where excellent corrosion protection is needed. Examples of such are in water treatment plants, where harsh sanitising chemicals are used, or in purified water generation plants which produce the highly pure water for pharmaceutical requirements
2. Fluoropolymers Exhibit Exceptional Thermal Resistance
Fluoropolymers have been found to be incredibly efficient at high temperatures when compared to other polymers. Generally, fluoropolymers will remain proficient in temperatures up to 260°C and have an oxygen index of at least 95% (LOI) – which makes them non-flammable and non-combustible. Their resistance to long term thermal degradation is excellent. This quality has been invaluable in component manufacturing for the aerospace, automotive and electrical/electronics sectors.
3. Fluoropolymers do not Contain Additives
Fluoropolymers do not require processing aids such as stabilisers, which are generally used to protect against thermal degradation, or plasticisers used to improve overall elasticity.
Fluoropolymers essential purity addresses key issues surrounding safety in pharmaceutical, medical, biotech and laboratories. Their stability and lack of additives means that there is no leaching from tubes and components and therefore no foreign substance will transfer into high purity substances that are flowing through them.
For these reasons fluoropolymers are also chosen for applications in food and drink processing plants, whereas non fluoropolymers will progressively break down and leach potentially harmful substances.
This purity also means that most fluoropolymers are FDA/USP Class VI compliant, as well as ADCF (Animal Derived Component Free) and Phthalate free – all of which are essential for many industries.
4. Fluoropolymers Provide Excellent Weatherability
Fluoropolymers offer excellent properties which are required for outdoor structures such as solar panels, satellite/radar dishes, greenhouses etc.
They do not absorb water, don’t swell and are unaffected by UV light. The Fluoropolymer ETFE (ethylene tetrafluoroethylene) was used in the construction of the biomes at The Eden Project. Chosen for its strength but light weight, non-stick qualities, vital UV light transmittance and its self-cleaning properties, the material is fully expected to last in excess of 25 years.
The environmentally stable features of fluoropolymers also come into their own in heavier construction elements where their low friction, non-stick properties means they do not require oil or grease. An example is in bearing pads for motorway bridges, where they are used to accommodate movement caused by extreme weather conditions.
5. Fluoropolymers Are Effective Electrical Insulators
Some Fluoropolymers such as PTFE don’t conduct electricity or absorb water. What better solution for an electrical insulation material?
Automotive and aerospace design engineers, electronics and electrical engineers all design products such as cabling systems utilising the benefits provided by fluoropolymers.
Such a unique combination of these characteristics is only found in the fluoropolymer family of materials – No other polymer offers this universal usefulness and inherent purity. The selection of just one of these materials allows manufacturers to avoid the majority of product failures rooted in issues such as poor performance at high temperatures and chemical leaching, resulting in significant savings in both time and costs.
Discover the Benefits of Fluoropolymers for Your Business
Polyflon Technology has been at the forefront of the engineering of fluoropolymers for over 30 years, providing fluoropolymer tubing, fluoropolymer film and fluoropolymer sheet of the highest quality. This established knowledge and expertise enables us to assist customers in selecting the best fluoropolymer for their application.
To help you get started on finding the right material for your application, we’ve created a useful material selection guide. This is intended as a guide only and should not be considered a basis for component design. You can download the guide here.
Our experts are always available to discuss your next project and help you determine how you can utilise these materials to your advantage. Simply contact us here to discuss your project.