PTFE Gasket Material: Properties that Make It Ideal for Food Industries

03 November 2017

Even though the label may seem unfamiliar, PTFE gasket materials exist throughout the food sector. Sure, you’re not going to see PolyTetraFluoroEthylene promoted in many kitchen brochures, but what about Teflon? That’s just another label for this chameleon-like material, a brand name that’s well-known as a non-stick cookware coating. As for PTFE as a gasket material, what benefits make Teflon a superior flange sealant when the food industry comes calling?

PTFE Gasket Materials: Scouring for Benefits

Well, non-stick benefits aren’t relevant here, but what about a talent for temperature resistance? PTFE is fabricated to endure when the fluid temperature hits 200°C. Considering the elevated temperatures found in the various food industries, that’s an important property. Furthermore, the gaskets will maintain their key mechanical characteristics when they’re called into service in a freezer. Approximately minus 70°C of frigid cold won’t trouble a Teflon seal. Of course, several other gasket families are similarly gifted. What about chemicals, then? Aren’t corrosive chemical compounds an issue in this industry?

Dealing a Blow to Corrosive Compounds

If you’ve never considered the corrosive conditions in the numerous food industries, now would be a good time to start. Sure, there are caustic cleaning agents aplenty, but they’re not the compounds you should be worrying about. There are acids in fruits, plus more acids in the blood and soft tissues that break free of various animal products. If time has its way, those relatively weak fluids will break down a substandard gasket. PTFE seals endure, even when a concentrated acid or alkali seeps into the waste discharge line. Incidentally, this could be a pressure vessel construct, this scenario described here. After all, pressure vessels raise the boiling temperature of water, which means the contained food cooks faster. If that seal is sustained, no matter the pressure, temperature, or acidity of the contents, then all pathogens are killed as the dish concludes cooking in no time at all.

The densely woven carbon and fluorine atoms present a united front. In other words, that non-stick surface does not break down. This feature ensures biological inertness, so the food streaming across the PTFE gasket is not tainted or spoiled, no matter how tortured that sealing product becomes. Run a finger down those properties, past food neutrality, temperature and chemical resistance, and superior compressibility. Those features and functions make Teflon a natural choice for many industries, but it’s the food industry that really benefits from those material attributes. Finally, there are ‘filled’ Teflon variants, products that tune these food industry properties so that its food handling capabilities are maximized.

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