A fluorocarbon-based polymer, Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) is more commonly referred to as Dupont’s Teflon® brand name.
This thermoplastic is popular for applications such as backup rings, coatings, distribution valves, electrical insulation, and more due to its improved electrical properties, high temperature capabilities, and chemical resistance and teflon machining and how it differs from other manufacturing options like metal machining, injection molding, and 3D printing are discussed in our most recent machining guide. In the informational polymer brief provided by AIP below, learn more about Teflon’s machining, applications, and properties, beginning with the distinction between working with a thermoset and a thermoplastic. Machining Thermoplastics versus Thermosets We’ve already mentioned that Teflon is a thermoplastic, but what exactly does that imply? There are two basic categories that can be applied to all polymers: thermosets and thermoplastics. Their responses to heat are the primary distinctions between them. Teflon and other thermoplastics, for instance, melt when heated, whereas thermosets remain “set” after being formed. CNC machining these materials correctly requires an understanding of the technical differences between them.
What specific kind of thermoplastic is Teflon? PTFE is a semi-crystalline thermoplastic because it is a fluoropolymer. PTFE has an inherent high resistance to solvents, acids, and bases because it is a fluoropolymer.
Properties and Grades of Machined Teflon
Teflon has brilliant electric steadiness in a great many circumstances and conditions, and its coatings are well known in the aviation area. PTFE has numerous uses in seals, housings, linings, and bearings due to its excellent chemical resistance and sliding properties. At higher temperatures, Teflon also maintains excellent UV resistance, resistance to hot water, and electrical insulation.
Unfilled PTFE is artificially inactive and has the most elevated physical and electrical protection properties of any Teflon grade. Mechanical grade PTFE, which is typically composed of reground PTFE and offers superior compressive strength and wear resistance to virgin Teflon, is a cost-effective alternative for industries that do not require materials of a high purity.
There are a variety of modified PTFE materials with distinctive properties available. Under load, many of these modified grades have a lower coefficient of friction and significantly lower deformation percentages. Glass-filled, nanotube, synthetic mica, and carbon-filled grades are among these. In order to reduce wear and friction, Teflon (PTFE) is frequently added to numerous other base polymers as an additive.
FLUOROSINT 207, FLUOROSINT 500, DYNEON, SEMITRON, ESD 500 HR, and SEMITRON PTFE are a few of the PTFE grades that we frequently machine at AIP.
Machining Teflon Annealing and Stress-Relieving Teflon The annealing and stress-relieving of PTFE reduces the likelihood of the material developing surface cracks and internal stresses. Additionally, post-machining annealing aids in reducing stresses that could lead to premature failure. AIP’s specialized annealing process for Teflon is made to take into account the PTFE’s unique properties. We recommend that anyone working with PTFE hire a manufacturer who knows what it needs.
PTFE’s thickness and delicateness make it beguilingly simple to machine, and in virgin grade, has a temperature range from – 450°F to +500°F (- 267.7°C to +260°C). Teflon has low strength when contrasted with materials like Nylon, which has just about a few times the elasticity of Teflon. When working with this material, you will need tools that are extremely narrow and very sharp.
Due to its high coefficient of expansion and stress creep characteristics, machining tolerances can be challenging. Instead of trying to force the polymer to behave in a way that is contrary to its nature, it is essential to design your application with PTFE’s inherent properties in mind.
To get the best surface finishes and close tolerances, we also recommend non-aromatic, water-soluble coolants like pressurized air and spray mists. Coolants also have the added advantage of extending the useful life of tools.
When machining polymer components for technically demanding industries like medical and life sciences, contamination is a major concern. To guarantee the most significant level of disinfection down to the sub-atomic level, AIP Accuracy Machining plans, heat-treats and machines just plastics, with any sub-made metalwork handled external our office.
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