PTFE Ring Gaskets: Thermal and Chemical Benefits

14 February 2019

Polytetrafluoroethylene is a man-made compound that serves the flange sealing industry very well indeed. PTFE, to use the synthetic material’s abbreviated title, is a thermally stable material. Gaskets made from the fluoropolymer also feature a high level of chemical resistance. Hot and chemically caustic fluids simply slide past the ring gaskets without impacting the substance in any way whatsoever.

Thermally Steadfast Gaskets

This is a substance that was famously utilized in the Apollo space program. Known universally as Teflon, the incredibly versatile substance can withstand the heat that’s generated by atmospheric reentries. A more prosaic application, which of coating frying pans, still manages to show off the fluoropolymer’s heat handling talents. Turning towards gasket rings, PTFE seals maintain their finest sealing features when fluid temperatures rise to 204°C. Alternatively, the synthetic plastic won’t become brittle when a fluid medium turns frosty. Down to as low as -73°C, its visco-mechanical properties remain unchanged.

Resists Chemical Causticity

Engineers hate generalities. So PTFE is imbued with superior chemical resistance, but for what chemicals? How well does the gasket ring substance perform when a truly concentrated acid flows? Will a super-caustic fluid eat its way through the fluoropolymer? Well, Teflon performs admirably when it’s attacked by acids, alkalis, alcohols, and solvents. It’s a remarkably non-reactive material. Even oils and greases, those that weaken other rubbers and plastics, rarely affect PTFE gasket rings. To find any weaknesses, research Teflon gaskets and fluorinating agents. These compounds do cause trouble for the material, as do certain alkali metal bases.

The Thermal and Chemical Benefits

At twice the boiling temperature of water, such steamy outflows scorch and carbonize lesser plastics. PTFE retains its mechanical attributes and its viscoelastic talents when this level of thermal hostility burns its way down a pipe. In real-world chemical processing, the attack rarely comes from one direction. More commonly, at least two, often three, forms of attack occur simultaneously. In other words, expect the high temperatures in a chemical processing plant to be accompanied by a caustic assault. Fortunately, thanks to a non-reactive carbon backbone, PTFE gaskets easily reject both forms of attack.

Other benefits crop up as the material advantages list is examined. This is a hydrophobic plastic, so it rejects fluids. PTFE gasket rings also possess a low-frictional coefficient, which means they’re slippery. Placed properly against a flange face, the opposing face fits snugly, without generating any abrasive opposition. In summary, PTFE gaskets are the chemically resistive kings of the fluid sealing realm. Better yet, though, they’re descended from a material lineage that’s designed to operate under all kinds of temperature extremes.

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