History of PTFE
The story of PTFE began April 6, 1938, at
DuPont's Jackson Laboratory in New Jersey. DuPont chemist, Dr. Roy J. Plunkett,
was working with gases related to Freon® refrigerants, another
DuPont product. Upon checking a frozen, compressed sample of tetrafluoroethylene,
he and his associates discovered that the sample had polymerized spontaneously
into a white, waxy solid to form polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE).
PTFE is inert to virtually all chemicals and
is considered the most slippery material in existence. These properties
have made it one of the most valuable and versatile technologies ever invented,
contributing to significant advancements in areas such as aerospace, communications,
electronics, industrial processes and architecture. PTFE has become a familiar
household product, recognized worldwide for the superior non-stick properties
associated with its use as a coating on cookware and as a soil and stain
repellant for fabrics and textile products.
The Teflon® trademark was coined
by DuPont and registered in 1945; the first products were sold commercially
under the trademark beginning in 1946.
The invention of PTFE has been described as
"an example of serendipity, a flash of genius, a lucky accident...even
a mixture of all three". Whatever the exact circumstances of the discovery,
one thing is certain: PTFE revolutionized the plastics industry and, in
turn, gave birth to limitless applications of benefit to mankind.
Dr. Roy Plunkett (1911-1994) has been recognized
the world over by scientific, academic and civic communities. He was inducted
into the Plastics Hall of Fame in 1973, and, in 1985, into the National
Inventors' Hall of Fame joining such distinguished scientists and innovators
as Thomas Edison, Louis Pasteur and the Wright Brothers.