Dhristi JEE 2022-24

What is Teflon?

Teflon is a synthetic fluoropolymer made up of tetrafluoroethylene monomer. The chemical name of Teflon is poly (1,1,2,2 tetrafluoroethylene). It is a thermoplastic polymer. Teflon chemical formula is (C2F4)n. The Teflon formula shows repetitive or n numbers of C2F4 units. It has an ability to maintain high strength, toughness, and self-lubrication at low temperatures (around 5 K), and good flexibility at temperatures above 194 K. 


History of Teflon

Teflon was first discovered in 1938s by Roy Plunkett, an American chemist, who was working for E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Company at that time. At the time of world war, it was used as a corrosion-resistant coating. After the war, In 1960, DuPont released the first non-stick cookware coated with Teflon.


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Structure of Teflon


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Properties of Teflon

  • It is a white solid compound at room temperature.

  • Its density is about 2200 kg/m3 2.2 g/cm3

  • Its melting point is 600 K.

  • It is a chemical resistance compound, the only chemicals that can affect these compounds are alkali metals.

  • It shows good resistance towards heat and low temperature.

  • It has a low water absorption capacity.

  • It has an anti-adhesion ability due to which it is used as non-stick kitchen utensils.


Uses of Teflon

  • It is used in making waterproof fabric.

  • It is used in making non-stick cookware.

  • It is used in making an anti-friction device.

  • It is used for coating medical appliances (surgical devices).

  • Due to its high resistance to corrosion, it is used for coating the lining of laboratory appliances.


Production of Teflon

Teflon is produced by a free radical mechanism. The net reaction for the production of Teflon is given below:


nF2C=CF2→ -(F2C-CF2)n-


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To aid this reaction, a sulphate catalyst is used with high-pressure heating. During the reaction of the production of the Teflon or Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTTE), the polymer tetrafluoroethylene decomposes into tetrafluoromethane and a carbon atom


Advantages of Using Teflon

The major advantages of using the polymer Teflon over the other compounds or polymers are listed as follows. 

  1. Teflon or PTFE is more efficient than most of the other polymers such as nylon and acetal.

  2. Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTTE) or Teflon are thermally more stable even at a very high temperature. Its chemical properties make it the ideal material for various real-world applications like electrical appliances, manufacturing, and even the textile industry as it is also used in the production of many clothing items.

  3. The durability of Teflon is much more compared to other coating materials hence are used in the coating of electrical wires and also non-stick cookware or pans.


Did You Know?

  • Teflon cookware when putting empty on high flame produces harmful health effects like fever, sore throat, and coughing.

  • Teflon foils are used in laser printers.

FAQs on Teflon

1. Give some uses of the compound Teflon.

  • Teflon is used for coating medical appliances (surgical devices).

  • Nearly 50% of total Teflon production is gone into the creation of various electrical appliances.

  • The most famous use of Teflon can be seen in various cooking appliances, especially non-stick pans. But some of the low-quality non-stick pans made with this material (Teflon) can be hazardous, so use them wisely.

  • Many types of beauty products have traces of Teflon added into them to get the slippery texture.

  • And not to forget its enormous contribution to the textile and fabric industry, with the help of Teflon, various kinds of waterproof clothing have been developed.

2. Write some properties of Teflon.

The properties of Teflon are given below.

  • It is a chemical resistance compound, the only chemicals that can affect these compounds are alkali metals.

  • It shows good resistance towards heat and low temperature.

  • It has a low water absorption capacity.

  • At room temperature, Teflon (or PTFE) is available in the form of a white solid with a density of 2.2 grams per cubic centimetre.

  • The thermal stability of Teflon is exceptional and can withstand up to the temperature of 444o degrees. 

  • Teflon or PTTE is also extremely resistant to Van-der Waal forces.

3. How the compound of Teflon is produced?

Teflon or Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTTE), basically is a synthetic fluoropolymer. It is produced from the substance by the name of tetrafluoroethylene with the help of free-radical chain-growth polymerization. In this process, the persulphate is used in the reaction at high pressures.


While radical polymerization does occur when two or more molecules of the raw material compound tetrafluoroethylene quickly decompose into tetrafluoromethane, which is further converted to Teflon. The balanced equation for this reaction can be given as n F2C  =  CF2→ - (F2 C - C F2 )n-


The Teflon produced in such a reaction is inverted and hydrophobic in nature and it is used to create non-stocking cookwares, bicycles, defense, etc.

4. What is the process of polymerization used to create Teflon?

Polymerization is a chemical process in which a large number of monomer polymer molecules are combined with each other to form an absolutely new polymer. The compounds or polymers formed in this process are in a linear or branched structure. Sometimes, these polymers get a very complex 3-dimensional geometry.


Polymerization can exist in several categories or kinds, some of them are step-growth polymerization, chain-growth polymerization, and condensation polymerization. Chain growth polymerization is used in the process of the creation of Teflon.


Chain Growth Polymerisation: In this type of polymerization, the molecules of the compounds are combined together to form a larger chain of polymers.

5. What is Teflon and also explains its structure?

Teflon or Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTTE), is simply a synthetic fluoropolymer compound and is thermoplastic in nature. It is created using the process of free radical chain-growth polymerization. This compound shows the ability to maintain strength and toughness even at a very low temperature and flexibility at a higher temperature. 


The chemical name of the Teflon is- 1,1,2,2 tetrafluoroethylene and has a chemical formula of (C2 F4 )n. The chemical formula tells about the structure of the molecule that contains a repetitive chain of C2 F4 unit groups.

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