You’re choking back tears of frustration as you click through the articles on different gasket materials, trying to figure out the references to PTFE and Teflon gaskets.
Don’t you know gaskets are meant to stop the waterworks?
Over the years, Strouse has helped design and build millions of gaskets. Today, we’d like to share more about PTFE so that our readers know more about their chosen materials.
By the end, you’ll understand what PTFE and Teflon gaskets are, their relationship, and where to find them.
What are PTFE Gaskets?
Polytetrafluoroethylene, or PTFE gaskets, are used for high-temperature and weather-resistant applications.
PTFE is a fluoroplastic commonly used in chemical labs and non-stick cookware, such as domestic frying pans. Yet, because PTFE material can withstand heat and chemicals, its gaskets can be used in many situations we’ll cover later.
PTFE has an extremely low coefficient of friction, giving it a slick and viscous feeling with anti-stick properties. Notably, PTFE is often considered challenging to process due to its lack of elasticity. Since PTFE isn’t a very flexible material, the gaskets are more rigid and can’t easily revert to their original shape like some other materials.
PTFE GASKETS VS. TEFLON GASKETS
One of the most common questions we’re asked about PTFE and Teflon is, “Is there any difference between the two?”
The truth is, Teflon is the brand name for a type of PTFE. A good way to think about it is the difference between a Kleenex and a tissue. Both PTFE and Teflon are polytetrafluoroethylene. However, PTFE is a single material, while the Teflon brand includes other fluoropolymer materials (including PFA and FEP).
Depending on the fluoropolymer material that fits closest to your ideal range of temperature, chemical resistance, or price range, you might choose PTFE or Teflon for your gasket design.
By the time you’re looking to transform your design from raw material into a component, you’ll want to select the most appropriate materials for your purpose.
What are PTFE Gaskets Used For?
Companies use PTFE gaskets for chemical or heat-resistant seals and gaskets in the chemical, automotive, industrial, electrical, and medical industries.
In automotive applications, PTFE gaskets often serve as O-ring or valve stem seals. Since they're corrosion-resistant, you might also find PTFE seals in fuel hose linings.
PTFE has high electrical resistance, allowing it to serve as an insulator in dielectric applications and protect electronic components such as printed circuit boards. In fact, due to its temperature resistance, PTFE is used as a substitute for lower-melting-point polyethylene materials that can’t be used in high-heat aerospace or computer applications.
Due to it being chemically inert and possessing anti-stick properties, there are plenty of other PTFE applications, such as chemical processing or Teflon-coated materials. Still, its project compatibility generally depends on the temperature range and purpose you use it for.
Where Can I Find PTFE?
The truth is, it depends on what you’re looking for.
Do you want the branded Teflon, or are you looking for other types of PTFE? The branded Teflon can only be bought from Dupont and its distributors. However, there are a number of other suppliers for the generic PTFE. You might want to check out 3M, Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics, Acton Technologies, and Adhesive Research.
If you want gaskets, you’ll be better off working through a converter instead of supplying your own material. When working alongside a converter, your part design and production planning process will be pursued in conjunction with the material selection process.
You can try your design in different configurations using different materials in manufacturing prototyping programs, like our Sample Express, until you find the most effective yet cost-efficient version.
Are you interested in learning more about gaskets? You can see different gasket types, applications, and functions below, or check out information on sealing in our Learning Center.