Chemours in the Semicon Manufacturing Industry
Moving from discovery to commercialization
The first commercial melt processable fluoropolymer was Teflon™ FEP, available from 1960. It is used today as an important insulation for fire-resisting safety wire and cables.
By 1973 we were able to commercialize Teflon™ PFA, a fully fluorinated melt-processable fluoropolymer with essentially the performance properties in use of PTFE.
Since 1973, the Teflon™ PFA fluoropolymer family has been improved in steps for better performance in various applications. This presentation continues to tell the story of improvements for applications in the Semicon Manufacturing Industry.
Teflon™ PFA perfluoroalkoxy structure
The image on this page depicts a molecular model of a segment of Teflon™ PFA. The curved horizontal portion represents a short segment of the PTFE polymer. It is very long in an actual average polymer chain of Teflon™ PFA.
The invention to produce Teflon™ PFA polymerized into the polymer backbone of a fully fluorinated ether molecule. It creates the pendant structure on the polymer chain, starting with an oxygen atom, shown in red.
The fully fluorinated ether pendant group is strong and flexible enough to withstand the stresses of melt processing. The oxygen-carbon bond is extremely well protected from reactivity by the structure of the surrounding fluorine atoms, such that the chemical and heat resistance is very similar to a PTFE structure.
The short side chains strengthen the polymer by inter-polymer chain entanglement. This interaction enables sculpting the molecular weight sufficiently to allow the polymer to be melted and to still provide PTFE-like physical properties.
Chemours studied numerous pendant groups before selecting the one to give properties and chemical resistance closest to PTFE. This inventive effort developed a body of knowledge on high performance, fully fluorinated, melt processable polymers.
Still today, this protected ether linkage structure has not been surpassed, and is used in all PFA type high temperature, high performance fluoropolymers.