Teflon 75th Anniversary with +1Bln Sales
Happy birthday, Teflon! The miracle plastic celebrates his 75th birthday today. Manufacturer of pans, guitar strings and microchips him a multibillion dollar market. But what makes the plastic so special?
Roy Plunkett made strange discovery 75 years ago. To invent a better refrigerator put the US chemist a canister with Tetrafluoroethylene pressurized gas and froze. The next day he was amazed. Because gas had disappeared after a chemical reaction whitish powder was in the cans instead. Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) had unusual properties: Plunkett noted that it is non-flammable, inert and extremely resistant and also has low coefficience on friction.
The unusual material properties were to protect the invention enough reason. Plunkett was awarded the patent on the plastic on 4 February 1941, it was given the number US2230654. Then his former employers: chemical company DuPont took over and crashed with the miracle plastics on the market. And under what name? Right: Teflon. DuPont cares even today the sales, but with the outsourced Chemours company.
Teflon was used in the construction of the atomic bomb
Soon, researchers on Teflon were attentive. The first request came from scientists of the famous Manhattan project which developed the atomic bomb during the second world war in the desert in New Mexico.
The researchers searched for a material to build protective shells for aggressive uranium materials encountered the new Teflon.
Teflon pans success story started in the 1950s
In the 1950s it continued then with non-military applications. Marc Gregoire with Teflon coated fishing line, so that it allows better unravel. And the wife of the French engineer came up with the idea to coat pots and pans with the new plastic. The couple secured a patent for it and ensured that are today the best known applications of the miracle plastic pans.
Also guitar strings, microchips and seals abound in the multi-billion-dollar market. Gore Tex clothing is also based on PTFE.
Never more than three minutes to heat empty Teflon pans
Teflon has however also a down side. It shows up if heated empty coated pots and pans last longer than three minutes. You should avoid it, says the Federal Office for risk assessment (BfR). Else could decompose PTFE and smoke free with toxic substances. The harmful fluorine compounds can cause the polymer fever in humans, that leads to breathing difficulties.