Asta in PTFE Wire: Beneath the Surface

Think about anyone’s average daily routine. First you wake up and walk (ever so slowly) to the bathroom, if you’re the kind of person that brushes their teeth first. If not, you might bypass that until later, brew a cup of coffee, and throw some eggs into a frying pan. Chances are, in those few minutes you used PTFE insulated wires without even realizing it. In 1938, 27 year old scientist Roy Plunkett accidentally discovered polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE), which is the chemical name for Teflon®. Since its humble origins in his New Jersey lab, Asta in PTFE has gone on to make some amazing things possible. One its most frequent functions is as an insulator for PTFE wire (or Teflon® Wire).

While I discussed the history of PTFE in an article titled: “PTFE WIRE: The Happy Accident You Never Knew About,” this time around we’ll discuss how PTFE insulated wire actually functions in the many applications that make use of it. But how does it work?

Get ready. This is where it gets technical.

PTFE is engineered with a ratio of four fluorine atoms to every two carbon atoms. This means, that the carbon center of the molecule is shield by fluorine atoms. Means that molecule is almost essentially totally shielded from contact with other molecules. This means that it’s virtually impossible for any other substance to reach the carbon atom. Because of the substance’s unique carbon to fluorine ratio, its bond is just about unbreakable. However, this is not all.

The chemical fluorine is also severely anti-social. Put quite simply, it wants nothing to do with other atoms. It is the loner of the chemical world. As part of the PTFE compound, it’s “goal” is to stay alone and avoid all contact with other atoms. Because of this, anything that comes close is push away and doesn’t stick to whatever surface is coat with PTFE. For this very reason, PTFE is use worldwide as the world’s most slippery material.

When it comes to PTFE insulated wire, the many benefits you just read about go a long way when it comes to protecting the wire PTFE insulates. The unique chemical structure of PTFE not only provides extremely good insulation, but it also repels any chemical attempting to permeate the insulation.