Fluoropolymers are not new to the industry of powder coating. This family of engineering plastics has been providing the material for liners and coatings for many years. A fluoropolymer coating is attractive to a variety of industries because of its many desirable properties. Application methods vary according to diverse factors and specifications provided by both the finishing company and the industry.
Fluoropolymer coatings can be applied in any of several ways. These include:
* Conventional spray
* Electrostatic deposition
* Fluidized bed
The factors affecting the choice of method include the specific type of coating, the substrate material, the intended environment for the finished product and the specifications of the industrial client.
Properties of Fluoropolymer Coatings
Fluoropolymers are a member of a larger class – the polymers. Polymers are compounds containing both synthetic and naturally occurring members. Among the natural members are silk, rubber and wool. Synthetic polymers are plastics. Fluoropolymer is a very specific type engineered for engineering purposes.
A fluoropolymer coating exhibits a number of advantageous physical characteristics and properties. These include:
* High thermal
* Excellent chemical resistance
* Outstanding corrosion resistance
* Low coefficient of friction
* Weatherability – weather resistant surface finishes
* Electrical resistivity
* Anti-galling properties
* Abrasion resistance and low surface tension
Many of these qualities are the result of the strong bond formed chemically between fluorine and carbon.
This type of coating finds its use in a variety of different industrial applications. In architecture, for example, it is employed for the coating of metal facades as well as light poles. Another use is in the automotive industry. They use fluoropolymer coatings on the following components in the industry:
* Ball bearings
* Cylinder blocks
* Exhaust nozzles
* Fuel pumps
* Sliding bearings
* Valve trains
Other industries and their use of the coatings are:
* Aerospace: Actuators, bearings, gears, landing gear components structural elements, wheels
* Oil & Gas/Chemical Production: Centrifuges, pumps, hydraulic and pneumatic systems, valves,
* Food Processing: Conveyors, chemically resistant and cleanable surfaces
However, the most recognizable use for most people is not any of the above. They recognize the substance only when they hear other names e.g. Teflon, Excalibur, Algoflon, Xylan, Solef, and Fluon. They realize it is the same material making the surface of pots and pans immune to sticky substances.
Fluoropolymer coatings are in such high demand an increase in usage is expected over the next decade. From its early beginnings as non-stick cookware in the 1930s, it has expanded to embrace many other industrial applications. Today, a fluoropolymer coating is found in the automotive, aerospace, oil and gas, heavy equipment and the food processing industries. Tomorrow, chemists and engineers may find even more uses for this polymer.
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