PTFE and its Uses

What is PTFE and When Was it Discovered?

For more than 80 years, our everyday lives have been improved by PTFE. Contrary to what many believe, PTFE was in fact invented by accident in 1938 by a chemist Dr. Roy Plunkett whilst trying to invent a ‘coolant gas’. After leaving a batch of gas overnight, he found that the gas had polymerised, leaving behind a fine powder that had a distinctly slippery texture along with exceptional properties.

At its most basic level, PTFE is a synthetic fluoropolymer of tetrafluoroethylene (TFE). It’s a fluorocarbon solid with a high molecular weight compound that is composed solely of carbon and fluorine atoms. PTFE is corrosion resistant, incredibly versatile and can be used in virtually everything from aerospace shuttles and computer cables to pharmaceuticals, telecommunications and even the food and beverage industry!

At Ai Plastics, we provide virgin PTFE in both rods and sheets. Our sheet sizes range between 2mm to 40 mm of thickness while our rods vary between 10mm to 120mm in diameter. It also comes in the form of glass fillings to help increase wear resistance and strength. Our successful partnership with Mitsubishi Chemical Advanced Engineering has enabled us to facilitate you with expert advice on all materials and their grade selections as well as other elements including design, processing and properties. Find out more by getting in touch with us.

PTFE’s Popularity

PTFE is an integral part of our day to day applications. It has also been published in the “Physical Extremes” section under Lowest Friction as “The lowest coefficient of static and dynamic friction of any solid is 0.02, in the case of polytetrafluoroethylene ([C2F4]n), also known as PTFE, it is equivalent to wet ice on wet ice.”

Ref (

Material Characteristics

PTFE’s melting point is at around 327°C while pure PTFE is almost totally chemically inert, highly insoluble in most solvents or chemicals and thermally stable enough to be used between -200 degrees C and +260 degrees C without degradation.

Other material characteristics include:

  • Very good temperature resistance
  • Extremely high chemical resistance
  • Very low coefficient of friction
  • High level of flame resistance


PTFE as an advanced engineering material has a variety of benefits. When it comes to manufacturing and engineering, it is used for handling and storing corrosive chemicals as well as coating parts such as bearings and screws.

Other added advantages include its lack of toxicity. It has only a minor contraindication for humans as a result of polymer fume fever. Otherwise it is FDA approved and food-safe.

Typical Applications 

  • Plain bearings
  • Slide plates
  • Seal rings
  • Washers
  • Gaskets
  • Food industry

Send your Enquiries to us now

If you require more information, call us at 0161 727 0255 or download our datasheet here. For a range of prices on different sheet sizes and rods, please visit our online shop. For next day deliveries, orders must be placed before 1.30 PM.


Fast and efficient

Next day UK delivery

Knowledge and Experience

Expert technical support

Supplied at the size you need

All materials cut to size