28. Teflon


Polytetrafluoroethylene (P.T.F.E) is a synthetic fluoropolymer of tetrafluoroethylene, used in a number of applications.

P.T.F.E consists of only the two elements Fluorine and Carbon. Neither water nor oil can stick to this. It has the lowest friction against any solid! So it is ideal for coating the cookwares like pan and pots, rendering them non-stick to oil and water!

P.T.F.E was invented by Roy Plunkett of Kinetic Chemicals in New Jersey, in 1938, in a lucky accident! Plunkett was trying to make a new C.F.C refrigerant, when the lucky accident took place!

Refrigerators from 1800 to 1929 used toxic gases like Ammonia, Methyl Chloride and Sulfur-Di-oxide as refrigerants. Several fatal accidents took place in 1920s due to the leakage of these toxic gases. People were forced to leave their fridges in their backyards!

A Chlorofluorocarbon (C.F.C) is an organic compound consisting of Carbon, Chlorine and Fluorine. This is a much safer substitute for the toxic gases being used in the refrigerants.

When Plunkett was trying to make a new C.F.C refrigerant, the perfluorethylene spontaneously polymerized in its pressurized storage container, using the iron of the container as a catalyst!

Kinetic Chemicals patented it in 1941 and registered the Teflon trademark in 1945.

The kitchenware were revolutionized with the nonstick pans -which need less cooking oil and are far more easier to clean!

Visalakshi Ramani

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