Fluon® - FAQ

What are fluoropolymers?
Fluoropolymers are extraordinary high-performance plastics that combine all of the following properties: heat-resistance, cold-resistance, chemical resistance, flame resistance, electrical insulation, low friction, non-adhesiveness, weatherability, and others. For details, refer to the “Properties of Fluoropolymers” page.
What types of fluoropolymers are there?
Fluon® PTFE
This is the most general type of fluoropolymer, that accounts for 60 to 70% of total demand, and is widely known. It is a resin that possesses the most complete range of typical fluoropolymer properties. Its general molding method is compression molding followed by machining to create a final product.
Chemical name: polytetrafluoroethylene

Fluon® PFA
While having properties comparable to those of Fluon® PTFE, this is a fluoropolymer for which melt molding even into complex shapes is possible.
Chemical name: perfluoroalkoxyalkane (copolymer resin of tetrafluoroethylene and perfluoroalkyl vinyl ether)

Fluon® ETFE
A copolymer resin of ethylene and tetrafluoroethylene, it has even more exceptional characteristics in terms of mechanical strength, radiation resistance, and processability. Fluon® LM-ETFE, a low melting point grade product with even higher processability, is also manufactured and available for purchase. Additionally, Fluon® ETFE Film and F-CLEAN®, produced by processing Fluon® ETFE, are available as fluorinated films.
Chemical name: Ethylene-tetrafluoroethylene copolymer

Other fluoropolymers include:
FEP (perfluoroethylene-propene copolymer)
PVdF (polyvinyledine fluoride)
ECTFE (ethylene-chlorotrifluoroethylene copolymer)
How can an optimal Fluon® fluoropolymer be chosen?
The proper selection method would be selection according to the molding method, based on the required properties and product shape.
How hard are fluoropolymers?
Generally fluoropolymers are harder than elastomers but softer than most other plastics.
The following diagram compares the hardness of Fluon®, other fluoropolymers and common plastics.
<Rockwell hardness>
PTFE: 20
PFA: 50
ETFE: 50
What is the specific gravity of Fluon® fluoropolymers?
The specific gravity of fluoropolymers is 1.7 - 2.2. being higher than that of other plastics.
Uses in the semiconductor industry
Various chemicals are used in the manufacturing processes of semiconductors.
Fluoropolymers have excellent chemical resistance and are used in various applications as parts or components that come into contact with strong acids or strong amines.
It is important that such parts should not damage the purity of the chemicals, which may affect the efficiency of semiconductor manufacturing.
Fluoropolymers are used to meet these requirements.
Mainly Fluon® PTFE and Fluon® PFA are used in semiconductor manufacturing processes as chemical containers, pipes, piping joints, tank linings, tanks, wafer carriers, valves, pumps, bellows, diaphragms, filters, housings, etc.
Uses in the battery industry
Aqueous dispersions of Fluon® PTFE are used for binding active materials in rechargeable batteries used in small appliances, such as lithium ion batteries and nickel-cadmium batteries.
Fluoropolymers have excellent chemical resistance, thermal stability and non-flammability which is vital in the chemically severe conditions inside rechargeable batteries.
Fluon® PFA is used as a packing inside lithium ion batteries as small and complex molding is required, in addition to chemical resistance and thermal stability.
These batteries are used in the latest personal electronic equipment, such as a mobile phones, notebook PCs and portable mini-disc players.
More significantly fluoropolymers are either already used, or planned to be used, as a binder etc. in fuel cells which are expected to be the power supply for automobiles and many other applications.
Uses in the automobile industry
In automobiles fluoropolymers are used to manufacture various components.
Where low friction is required fluoropolymers are used in brake pads, automatic gear boxes and in power steering seals.
Where thermal stability and good electrical properties are required, fluoropolymers are used in the wire insulation of electrical systems.
Where chemical resistance is important fluoropolymers are used in various parts of fuel systems.
Uses in the food industry
Fluon® PTFE and PFA are compliant with the requirements described in the U.S. regulation 21CFR§177.1550 as indirect food additives. Fluon® ETFE is registered on the list of FCS (food contact substances) of the U.S. FDA, and has obtained an FCN number. Within Japan, it is also compliant with the Food Sanitation Act’s Ministry of Health and Welfare Notification No. 370.
* Each of these excludes certain grades. Please inquire with us regarding details and conditions of use.
Uses of Fluon® PTFE
Although PTFE is the most mature fluoropolymer with over 60 years since its commercialization, new applications are still being found today since its outstanding features typical of fluoropolymers mean it offers all kinds of benefits.
Fluon® PTFE is used in the construction industry, the chemical processing industry, the automotive industry, the semiconductor industry, the electrical industry and the textile industry. It also has applications in machinery and is used as a wire coating. PTFE powder is used as an additive in other media such as plastics, elastomers, paint and greases to improve friction and non-flammability.
As well as PTFE in powder form, aqueous dispersions of PTFE are also available.
Filled PTFE compounds are another type of PTFE which are suitable for applications where improved creep resistance and minimum wear are required.
Uses of Fluon® PFA
Fluon® PFA has very similar properties to Fluon® PTFE and in addition Fluon® PFA is melt processable.
The majority of applications for Fluon® PFA are in the semiconductor industry in areas such as pipes, joints, wafer carriers and tanks of semiconductor manufacturing machinery and equipment.
In addition to applications in the semiconductor industry, the other two main areas of applications are office machinery/appliances and lithium ion battery packings. "
Uses of Fluon® ETFE
Fluon® ETFE, a copolymer of ethylene and tetrafluoroethylene, has excellent mechanical properties and radiation durability. Because of these properties Fluon® ETFE is used as wire insulation in robots, nuclear power plants and in precision instruments such as personal computers.
Fluon® ETFE Film and F-CLEAN® are films made from Fluon® ETFE. These films have applications such as release films, architectural films and greenhouses.
Fluon® ETFE powder is also available and is used in the chemical processing industry and the automotive industry. It is used to coat pipes and other metal parts by electrostatic coating or rotolining. It is also used in rotomolding. "
What are the uses of Fluon® LM-ETFE?
LM-ETFE is the evolved form of ETFE, developed independently by AGC. Its primary characteristic is that it has succeeded in achieving a lower melting point while improving its heat-resistance. This property is widely used in automobile parts, electric wire coatings, tubing and hoses, and containers. The AH series are used for multi-layer fuel hoses for automobiles that can meet the extremely strict environmental regulations of North America.
What are the molding methods for Fluon®?
Compression molding
This is the method most commonly used for molding Fluon® PTFE. This method is used because even if Fluon® PTFE reaches a temperature at or higher than its melting point, it has an extremely high melt viscosity. The resin is poured into a mold and compressed, then fired to fuse its particles to each other. After this, it is cooled to obtain the molded product. If molded products with finely detailed shapes or complex shapes are required, it can then be cut by machines to yield the final products.
Suitable grades: PTFE (molding powder), PTFE (filled compound)

Paste extrusion molding
This is another molding method used for Fluon® PTFE. It is used when fine powder is to be molded. The resin is combined with an auxiliary material (naphtha can be used) and pressed into a die, and by extruding it from the die, molded products in the form of tubes, pipes, or tapes can be yielded. Removing the auxiliary material content and firing will then complete the procedure.
Suitable grades: PTFE (fine powder)

Melt molding
Fluon® PFA, Fluon® ETFE, and other fluoropolymers that dissolve when reaching or exceeding their melting point can be molded using molding methods equivalent to those of other thermoplastic resins. Melt molding includes extrusion molding, injection molding, blow molding, transfer molding, rotational molding, and other methods, but all of them can be used with dissolved fluoropolymers. However, differences when molding them compared to other plastics include their high melting point which leads to higher molding temperatures, and their relatively high melt viscosity which results in slower molding speeds.
Suitable grades: PFA, ETFE, LM-ETFE

Coextrusion molding
In the past, coextrusion molding using fluoropolymers was considered impossible, due to their non-adhesive nature. However, the Fluon® LM-ETFE AH Series developed by AGC has made the use of this method possible. By casting another type of resin together with the AH Series in a single coextrusion die and then carrying out molding, a laminated molded product achieving excellent adhesion can be obtained.
Suitable grades: LM-ETFE AH Series

Powder molding
By using resin in powder form, molded products adhere to metals in the form of coatings and linings . Such products are ideal for the corrosion protection of metals.
Suitable grades: ETFE powder grades
Is there a grade of fluoropolymers with added fillers?
Yes. There is a wide lineup of filled compound grades for Fluon® PTFE. Many different levels of performance of PTFE characteristics can be achieved by incorporating various types of fillers, allowing them to be used for different purposes. Fluon® ETFE also has a wide lineup of grades that consist of mixtures with carbon black, carbon fiber, colored pigments and other reinforced fillers, which can be used in forms that provide added features such as conductivity, strength, and color identification.
Can fluoropolymer coating be performed?
Yes. Fluon® ETFE has a wide lineup of powder grades, which can be applied by rotational molding or electrostatic powder coating to produce coatings on metal that are several tens to several hundreds of μm thick. PTFE can also be used for enamel coating, so it can be used for a wide variety of applications most commonly represented by frying pan coatings.
What is the heat-resistance of Fluon®?
Fluoropolymers have extremely high melting points, in most cases reaching 200°C or higher. Their continuous operating temperatures also range from 150°C to 261°C, giving them the highest level of heat-resistance among plastics.
What is the chemical resistance of Fluon®?
It is inert with strongly-acidic or strongly-alkaline substances at high temperatures or high concentrations, and is also insoluble when exposed to solvents.
What is the ultraviolet light resistance of Fluon®?
The degradation of its performance in outdoor environments is extremely low, and it can be used for prolonged periods of time. When exposed to outdoor environments, materials are subject to effects including photodegradation and oxidation from sunlight, and expansion and contraction from changes in air temperature. Fluoropolymers have the property of being resistant to changes or degradation in such severe environments.
What is the radiation resistance of Fluon®?
Most resins which are formed by bonding between carbon atoms and fluorine atoms, such as PTFE, PFA, and FEP, generally decay when exposed to radiation and cannot be used in such environments. Fluon® ETFE, however, is a copolymer of tetrafluoroethylene and ethylene. Since ethylene causes cross-linking reactions when exposed to radiation, it will virtually not decay even if irradiated.
Applying this property, Fluon® ETFE is widely used in insulated electric wires requiring radiation resistance in addition to heat-resistance and steam resistance, in areas located near nuclear power plant reactors.
What are its dielectric constant, dielectric tangent, and electrical insulation properties?
It has high flame resistance and electrical properties that are acknowledged by the strict standards of various industries. The dielectric constant of fluoropolymers is the lowest among plastics, with essentially no changes due to frequency. Their volume resistivity is also at a level so high that it exceeds the limits of measurement.
What are its adhesive properties?
Fluoropolymers are actually non-adhesive and have the nature of being difficult to bond, but this has been achieved with Fluon® ETFE/LM-ETFE AH grades that can adhere to metals or resins. Please inquire with us regarding uses.
What are the safety properties of Fluon®?
If ingested
Well-known for their use as coatings for frying pans, the safety properties of fluoropolymers have been confirmed through experiments such as the following. A 25% portion of fine powdered PTFE was mixed in with food given to lab rats for 90 days. No poisoning or pathological/anatomical changes were noted. Fluoropolymers are chemically inert, and even if ingested orally will not be broken down or react and generate poisonous substances, but will be passed through the body.

If it combusts or is thermally decomposed
As indicated on the “Properties” page, fluoropolymers are plastics with an extremely high level of flame resistance. However, if exposed to high temperatures that exceed their melting points, it is known that they will begin to thermally decompose and generate decomposition products. In the case of PTFE (melting point: 327°C), decomposition will accelerate from around 400°C, and its decomposition products will be detectable. Substances such as tetrafluoroethylene and hexafluoropropylene will first be detected, followed by perfluoroisobutylene from around 480°C and then carbonyl fluoride gas at around 500°C. These decomposition gases are more or less toxic, with perfluoroisobutylene and carbonyl fluoride being extremely toxic. Although fluoropolymers are flame resistent, be aware that extremely toxic gases will be released if any large fires start around fluoropolymers.

Important points in processing
Although there is virtually no danger of the highly toxic decomposition gases noted above being released under normal fluoropolymer processing conditions, we have heard of cases where powdered substances were released. These are thought to cause so-called “polymer smoke fever” in the human body.
If fluoropolymer thermal decomposition products are inhaled for a long time (or a short time for highly-concentrated products), influenza-like symptoms could occur. This is referred to as “polymer smoke fever”. This condition manifests after an incubation period lasting a few hours, after which symptoms continue to weaken and completely disappear within 24 to 48 hours. There are virtually no lasting effects. Suitable air circulation in the processing environment is the most effective means toward preventing this kind of condition.
Although it is often handled only in small amounts or in situations where natural air circulation is sufficient for the environment where the processing equipment is installed, we recommend installing local ventilation facilities around processing equipment to ensure safety.
What is its safety for food-related applications?
Fluon® PTFE and PFA are compliant with the requirements described in the U.S. regulation 21CFR§177.1550 as indirect food additives. Fluon® ETFE is registered on the list of FCS (food contact substances) of the U.S. FDA, and has obtained an FCN number. Within Japan, it is also compliant with the Food Sanitation Act’s Ministry of Health and Welfare Notification No. 370.
* Each of these excludes certain grades. Please inquire with us regarding details and conditions of use.
What are the disposal methods for fluoropolymers?
Fluoropolymers are known to release toxic gases when they reach high temperatures. Please consult your local waste disposal rules on how best to dispose these fluoropolymer product waste materials.