Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
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Teflon is also used as the trade name for a polymer with similar properties, perfluoroalkoxy polymer resin (PFA):
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Teflon has the lowest coefficient of friction of any solid material known to man. It is used as a non-stick coating for pans and other cookware. Teflon is very unreactive, and so is often used in containers and pipework for reactive chemicals. Its melting point is 327 °C.
Teflon is sometimes said to be a spin-off from the US space program with more down-to-earth applications; this is an urban legend, as teflon cooking pans were commonplace before Yuri Gagarin's flight in 1961. PTFE was discovered serendipitously by Roy Plunkett of DuPont in 1939, while attempting to make a new CFC refrigerant. DuPont patented it in 1941, and registered the Teflon trademark in 1944.
Its first significant use was in the Manhattan Project, as a material to contain highly-reactive uranium hexafluoride, when it was known as K416.
Amongst many other industrial applications, Teflon is used to coat certain types of hardened, armour-piercing bullets, so as to reduce the amount of wear on the firearm's rifling. These are often mistakenly referred to as "cop-killer" bullets on account of Teflon's supposed ability to ease a bullet's passage through bullet-proof armour. Any armour-piercing effect is, however, purely a function of the bullet's velocity and rigidity rather than a property of Teflon.
Teflon exposure has been implicated in cancer, though DuPont denies any association.
Teflon has excellent electrical properties especially at radio frequencies, making it eminently suitable for use as an insulator in cables and connector assemblies. Combined with its high melting temperature this makes it the material of choice as a high performance substitute for the weaker and more meltable polythene that is commonly used in low-cost applications.
- Adams, Cecil (1995). If Teflon is nonsticky, how do they get it to stick to the pan?. Retrieved March 28, 2005.
- Dupont (2005). Teflon News and Informatin. Retrieved March 28, 2005.
- Environmental Working Group (2005). Canaries in the Kitchen - "Teflon Toxicosis" is deadly to pet birds. Are we at risk?. Retrieved March 28, 2005.
- Kopel, Dave (2004). The Return of a legislative Legend. Retrieved March 28, 2005.
- nature publishing group (2001). Thermolysis of fluoropolymers as a potential source of halogenated organic acids in the environment. Retrieved March 29, 2005.
- The Chemical Heritage Foundatin (2000). Roy J. Plunkett. Retrieved March 28, 2005.
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