Teflon™ Coatings—The Invention that’s Still Innovating

Everyone knows what Teflon™ nonstick coatings has done for cookware, but most people don’t know how it helps innovate products to make them work better, last longer, and even be more sustainable.

Teflon™ Coatings and Finishes—The Secret Ingredient of Innovation

Teflon™ PTFE may have made its name as a coating for cookware, but since being patented 75 years ago, it has gone on to change our world.

 

Improving windshield wipers, windbreakers, even beacons of liberty.

Many people would be surprised to learn that the same properties that make Teflon™ coatings the gold standard in the kitchen for nonstick cookware have also helped create significant advancements in everyday goods like windshield wipers and windbreakers, aerospace technologies, electronics, architectural materials, medical tools—and even the Statue of Liberty. The brand’s hallmark qualities of nonstick, lubricity, chemical resistance repellency, and durability continue to drive value across industries that go far beyond its early applications on pots and pans in the 1930s. The Teflon™ trademark is the most recognized brand of The Chemours Company—with up to 85% brand awareness across major consumer and B2B categories.

An infographic lists several interesting facts about Teflon™.

The innovation that knows no limits.

The airline and aerospace industries have been using Teflon™ coated parts and wiring for decades. It was used on the original space shuttle and has helped improve the quality of countless components for the International Space Station, Mars Rover, and several NASA deep-space missions.

An infographic depicts the various ways Teflon™ PTFE applications increase the durability of everyday items–from cars to roofing to indoor conveniences.

 

Constantly evolving, always protecting.

Today, people demand more sustainability from the products they buy. That’s another reason Teflon™ PTFE will continue to be a brand people seek. Teflon™ nonstick coatings can also help make other products more sustainable. It’s made to outlast ceramic or silicone coatings by seven to one, and that means seven times less waste in landfills, less CO2 emissions, and, literally, tons less packaging too.

The same can be said for what Teflon™ fabric protector does for the textile industry. Since it promises nine times more stain repellency than other products, it helps everything from mattresses to umbrellas stay in homes and out of landfills.

Additionally, in our efforts to create a better environmental footprint, we’ve introduced Teflon EcoElite™ renewably sourced finish, which is made from 60% renewably sourced materials and is the first renewably-sourced water repellent for fabric and textiles.

We listen to the marketplace and today it’s saying loud and clear that sustainability is a big trend. Fifty-five percent of consumers say they’re willing to pay more for responsible products, which is why Teflon EcoElite™ renewably sourced water repellent promises to be a very sought-after name.

A chart shows how Teflon™ helps make various products more ecologically friendly. The chart shows that Teflon™ coated pans are seven times more durable than ceramic coatings, which leads to less landfill. It also shows that Teflon™ makes fabrics nine times more stain resistant so clothes don’t need to be washed as often, and Teflon™ paints need only one coat to achieve the same look as paints that require more coats.

 

The Teflon™ brand standard of performance.

In an effort to ensure the performance expectations for Teflon™ PTFE remain intact, Chemours is diligent in its supervision of how the Teflon™ brand is used by licensed coaters. In the mid-1960s, Chemours launched the first program to certify the quality application of its nonstick coatings. Today, rigorous quality assurance standards ensure that all cookware and bakeware products carrying the Teflon™ brand pass stringent quality control guidelines.

When experimentation leads to discovery.

Teflon™ PTFE has enabled change in the world, but it almost didn’t happen. The story began a little more than 75 years ago as a happy accident of the scientific process. Dr. Roy J. Plunkett was experimenting with Freon™ brand refrigerants in 1938, when he observed that a frozen, compressed sample of tetrafluoroethylene (TFE) had polymerized in a cylinder. He discovered that under intense cold and pressure, the gas turned into a white, waxy solid that formed the world’s first fluoropolymer: polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE).

This newly invented PTFE possessed outstanding chemical and heat resistance and was soon to demonstrate some extremely valuable qualities. In 1941, DuPont patented PTFE and sold it under the trademark Teflon™, and with it a new era of commercial chemistry was born.

Scientist Roy J. Plunkett, who accidentally invented Teflon™ in 1938, works on an experiment in the lab with two colleagues.

Dr. Roy Plunkett

Chemours chemist, discoverer of Teflon™ PTFE

While I realized that PTFE (polytetrafluoroethylene) was an unusual material, I didn't know what to do with it. However, I was lucky to work with a company that had a great interest in polymers.

The Teflon™ brand difference.

At Chemours, we’re paying attention to key global trends, such as the growing middle class in emerging markets and the continuous demand for value-added products in developed markets, and we see the role of products that can benefit from Teflon™ coatings growing substantially. Why? Because our customers can increasingly look to Chemours as a provider of value-added chemical products, which can provide a competitive edge, to help differentiate their products. At the same time we are bringing a higher quality of life and everyday conveniences to billions of people worldwide.

“We are committed to partnering with our customers to bring innovative new applications, while proactively responding to the ever-changing needs of the marketplace,” said Paul Kirsch, President of Chemours Fluoroproducts.

In 2016, a new research and development facility opened in China that will drive our horizons of innovation into the next century.

 

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