Using PTFE in Aviation and Aerospace Industry: An Overview

June 13, 2019 by  
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Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) is an incredibly versatile fluoroplastic that has become invaluable in several industries but has been particularly vital in the aviation and aerospace industries. While available in one form or another — the most famous brand name of a PTFE product is Teflon — since the 1930s, this synthetic fluoropolymer of tetrafluoroethylene has several remarkable properties, which is why it plays such an important role in the success of both the aviation and aerospace industries.

Unique Characteristics

Both aerospace and aviation rely on materials that are light, durable, and versatile. For several reasons, PTFE is the only material to succeed so brilliantly at meeting the demands of these advanced systems of transportation that no other product will do. For instance, PTFE is hydrophobic, meaning it’s resistant to water. Combined with the fact that it’s also extremely heat resistant, it’s an ideal substance for fuel cables and cable insulation in the form of heat shrink PTFE tubing. Due to the fact that PTFE has one of the lowest coefficients of friction of any solid, it’s ideal for protecting parts of vehicles where aluminum and other metal sections are liable to rub against each other. In this manner, it serves a dual purpose of both decreasing friction and limiting vibration, which is why it’s such an effective material in places such as in the leading edges of airplane wings.

Improved Safety

Modern aircraft simply could not function without all that PTFE has to offer. Like the rest of the airplane, it’s a lightweight material, allowing aircraft to fly more efficiently. The aerospace sector operates with the highest safety standards imaginable. PTFE serves an important role in allowing aerospace engineers to design ever more sophisticated machines knowing that they’ll have the materials available to them that will meet the extremely high Aerospace Material Standard.

Dielectric Properties

The excellent dielectrics properties of PTFE — especially at high radio frequencies — makes it perfectly suited for insulation in cables and connector assemblies. Clear heat shrink PTFE tubing has a far higher melting point than the polyethylene more commonly used in applications that don’t have to withstand the rigor associated with the aviation and aerospace industries. It’s also a common product used in computers and circuit boards both within and without these industries who still rely on computers for their operations.

PTFE Film

Commonly utilized in the production of fiberglass composites — as well as carbon fiber composites — PTFE film acts as a barrier between fiberglass or carbon parts as they’re being built. This makes it possible to manufacture products without non-production materials adhering to the parts as they’re being constructed. Such purity in the manufacturing process is of particular importance as it relates to the aerospace industry where impurities can be especially damaging.

Whether it’s due to its resistance to heat, its dielectric properties, or its low friction coefficient, PTFE has become one of the most relied upon materials throughout the aviation and aerospace industries. With over 50 years of experience in manufacturing PTFE, Tef – Cap Industries Inc. knows all about this remarkable material and its many applications. If you have any questions, or if you want to see how PTFE can benefit your business, call Tef – Cap Industries Inc. today!

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