Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) is a synthetic fluoropolymer of tetrafluoroethylene that is best known in the consumer world as Teflon™. It is said to exhibit a combination of mechanical, electrical, chemical, temperature, and friction-resisting properties unmatched by other materials. PTFE is a non-reactive, high-molecular-weight compound, with one of the lowest coefficients of friction of any solid.
+ Key Strengths:
PTFE is tough, heat-resistant, and almost completely chemically inert. It has the highest operating temperature of any fluoropolymer. As a result, many popular products take advantage of the characteristics of PTFE, and it is used widely in industrial, medical, microelectronics, telecommunications, and performance fabric applications. In the medical area, it has been used in sutures, arterial grafts, catheters, and in other medical devices and components. In addition, microporous PTFE mesh allows tissue to grow into its pore structure, making it useful for vascular grafts, cell culture research, facial reconstruction and cosmetic surgery.
- Key Drawbacks:
Fumes released by overheated PTFE are mildly toxic to humans and deadly to some animals, and PTFE does not provide the same resistance to deterioration shown by certain materials. Although considered to be highly inert in the body, PTFE has relatively lower wear resistance which may, in certain situations, affect its biocompatibility. For example, when under compression or in situations where rubbing or abrasion can occur, PTFE can produce wear particles that result in undesirable chronic inflammatory reactions.