Unravelling Polymers

The Definitive Blog on Polymers by Poly Fluoro Ltd.

PTFE Machined Conduits

The versatility of PTFE as a material is only matched by its difficulty to process and fabricate. The properties of PTFE mean that it is invaluable in certain applications. However, as PTFE cannot be injection moulded or melt-processed in any way, there lie certain challenges in creating the shapes needed by the end applications. As always, the work around these challenges is what makes PTFE such an interesting polymer to manufacture.

Specifically, when making PTFE conduits, the requirement for a monolithic part with multiple entry and exit ports results in a complex machining problem. While not insurmountable, this problem is usually solved by a combination of moulding, shaping, and machining using a variety of tools and techniques.

PTFE is a high-performance fluoropolymer known for its excellent chemical resistance, low friction coefficient, and wide temperature range. It is non-reactive to most chemicals, including corrosive substances, and its low friction coefficient ensures smooth fluid flow. Moreover, it can withstand extreme temperatures, ranging from cryogenic conditions to high heat environments. These properties make it an ideal material for conduits in various industries.


PTFE machined conduits offer numerous advantages over traditional conduit materials. Firstly, their chemical inertness ensures compatibility with a broad range of aggressive chemicals and solvents, making them suitable for applications in the chemical, pharmaceutical, and food processing industries.

Secondly, PTFE's low friction coefficient significantly reduces pressure losses and minimizes energy consumption. This characteristic makes PTFE conduits highly desirable in fluid transfer systems, improving efficiency and reducing operational costs.

Thirdly, PTFE conduits exhibit excellent electrical insulation properties, making them suitable for applications requiring electrical or thermal insulation. They are widely used in the electrical and telecommunications industries to protect wires and cables from environmental factors and potential damage.

The usefulness of PTFE machined conduits enables their utilization in various industries:

Automotive: In the automotive sector, they are used for fuel and brake systems, thanks to their resistance to corrosive fuels and high-temperature performance

Aerospace: PTFE conduits also find applications in the aerospace industry, where they are employed in hydraulic and fuel transfer systems due to their lightweight nature and ability to withstand extreme temperature fluctuations.

Medical: PTFE conduits are extensively used in the medical field for applications such as catheters, endoscopes, and fluid transfer systems. Their biocompatibility and resistance to chemicals and high temperatures make them ideal for medical devices.

Semi-conductors: PTFE machined conduits are also employed in the semiconductor industry, where they are utilized for chemical delivery systems and in corrosive gas handling. Their resistance to aggressive chemicals and high-purity characteristics ensures the integrity of the manufacturing process.

Machining PTFE conduits

Because of the challenges to melt-process PTFE, the conduits must be machined out of a single block. This can often be costly, as the extensive removal of material results in a lot of wastage. Furthermore, the more the part is machined, the higher the cycle time. Add to this that the part itself might require multiple operations and the compounded effects of material wastage, cycle time, and setting and programming can result in an expensive final component. Typically, the machining time for a single part can range from as low as 15 minutes, to as high as 2 hours. Manufacturers – such as Poly Fluoro – spend a significant amount of time optimising this process, creating special moulds such that the ‘stock shape’ is as close to the final shape as possible. Furthermore, 4-axis and 5-axis capabilities increasingly allow parts to be machined in fewer settings, thereby reducing the set-up time, and increasing the accuracy of the final component’s dimensions.

Regardless of the methods used, the process of making a PTFE conduit is difficult and can defeat most that are unfamiliar with PTFE machining and its peculiarities. Nonetheless, there are applications where nothing but PTFE will do and in such cases, it falls to the experts to step in and show how it can be done.

Read More

1. Expanded PTFE (ePTFE) Vents

2. PTFE in Brake Cables

3. Graphene in Polymers - The Way of the Future


Expanded PTFE (ePTFE) Vents

The development of Expanded PTFE (polytetrafluoroethylene) membranes has seen a range of potential applications where such materials can be used. From simple filtration to breathable fabrics, PTFE membranes have become the material of choice in a range of applications. Excellent chemical resistance, thermal stability, and permeability to gases and liquids makes PTFE highly sought after across various industries. 

One of the key applications of expanded PTFE membranes is in vents, where they are used to allow gases and liquids to pass through while preventing the ingress of contaminants such as dust, dirt, and water. Vents – which may include automotive vents, acoustic vents, or vents for chemicals – are unique in their properties. Developments in adhesive technologies have allowed ePTFE to be punched and a thin section of adhesive to be applied on the edge of the vent. The vent can then be removed, like a sticker, and placed as required.

The use of expanded PTFE membranes in vents has grown in popularity in recent years due to the increasing demand for high-performance ventilation solutions across a range of industries, including aerospace, automotive, medical, and industrial applications. The unique properties of expanded PTFE membranes make them an ideal choice for use in vents, as they offer a number of benefits over traditional venting solutions. 

One of the key advantages of expanded PTFE membranes is their ability to provide high levels of air and liquid permeability while maintaining excellent filtration properties. This is due to the unique structure of the material, which consists of a network of interconnected fibrils that create a three-dimensional matrix. This structure allows air and liquid to flow through the membrane while trapping contaminants and preventing them from passing through.

Expanded PTFE membranes are also highly resistant to a wide range of chemicals, including acids, bases, and organic solvents. This makes them an ideal choice for use in harsh environments where traditional materials such as paper or foam would quickly degrade. In addition, expanded PTFE membranes are resistant to UV radiation, which makes them suitable for use in outdoor applications where exposure to sunlight is a concern.

Another key advantage of expanded PTFE membranes is their ability to maintain their performance even in extreme temperatures. Unlike traditional venting materials, which can become brittle and lose their effectiveness at low temperatures, expanded PTFE membranes remain flexible and durable even at temperatures as low as -200°C. This makes them an ideal choice for use in aerospace and industrial applications where extreme temperature fluctuations are common.

In addition to their performance benefits, expanded PTFE membranes also offer a number of practical advantages over traditional venting solutions. For example, they are lightweight and easy to install, which makes them ideal for use in applications where space and weight are a concern. They are also highly customizable, which means that they can be tailored to meet the specific needs of a wide range of applications.

One area where expanded PTFE membranes are particularly useful is in the venting of batteries. With the increasing use of lithium-ion batteries in a wide range of applications, there is a growing need for effective battery venting solutions that can prevent the build-up of pressure and the release of potentially dangerous gases. Expanded PTFE membranes are an ideal choice for this application, as they can provide high levels of gas permeability while preventing the ingress of contaminants such as dust and water.

In the case of automotives, a vent can be placed over a hole in the dashboard casing. Any build-up of moisture within the electrical chamber of the dashboard can thus be exhausted, without risking any new liquids, dust or other contaminants entering the system. Similarly, for applications in fertilizer manufacturing, the vents act as a one-way valve, allowing gases that build up within a chamber to expelled, lest they build pressure and cause any accidents. The same property makes ePTFE vents invaluable in

Another area where expanded PTFE membranes are commonly used is in the venting of medical devices. With the increasing use of wearable medical devices, there is a growing need for venting solutions that can provide high levels of air and liquid permeability while preventing the ingress of contaminants such as bacteria and viruses. Expanded PTFE membranes are an ideal choice for this application, as they can provide a high level of filtration while maintaining excellent air and liquid permeability.

In conclusion, expanded PTFE membranes are a versatile material that offer a wide range of benefits for use in vents. Their unique properties make them an ideal choice for use in a wide range of applications, from aerospace and automotive to medical and industrial applications. With the increasing demand for high-performance ventilation solutions, expanded PTFE membranes are likely to continue to be an important material for the future.

Read More

1. PTFE in Brake Cables

2. Graphene in Polymers - The Way of the Future

3. Injection Moulding of PEEK and PPS

PTFE in Brake Cables

The use of PTFE (Teflon) tubes extends across a variety of industries due to the exceptional properties of the material. PTFE is able to withstand high temperatures, resist corrosive chemicals, is electrically insulative, and has the lowest friction coefficient among known solid materials. PTFE tubes are made via a special process known as paste extrusion. As the manufacturing process has evolved, so too have the applications into which PTFE tubes are invaluable.

One significant application of PTFE tubes is in the manufacturing of brake cables. Brake cables are a critical component of a vehicle's braking system, and PTFE tubes play a vital role in ensuring their efficiency and durability. Around the world, PTFE is a preferred material of choice for brake cables. In India, cables with rubber cores are still largely used. However, a recent government directive has made it mandatory for PTFE brake cables for two-wheelers. The result has been a significant jump in volumes and a considerable interest in PTFE tubes.

Brake cables are a type of control cable that transmits the force from the brake pedal to the brake callipers or drums. The cable consists of a wire core and an outer casing made of metal or plastic. The wire core is responsible for transferring the force, while the outer casing provides protection and guidance. However, the friction between the wire core and the outer casing can cause significant wear and tear, resulting in reduced efficiency and increased maintenance cost. 

The typical construct of a PTFE brake cable involves a PTFE tube core, with a braided stainless steel sheath around it, and a nylon (usually PA11) outer sheath. The PTFE tubes are used as a liner inside the outer casing of the brake cable. The PTFE tube acts as a lubricant between the wire core and the outer casing, reducing the friction and wear. Moreover, the PTFE tube's low friction coefficient ensures that the brake cable operates smoothly, providing a more responsive and consistent braking performance. This feature is particularly crucial for high-performance vehicles that demand quick and precise braking.

Another significant advantage of using PTFE tubes in brake cables is their resistance to high temperatures. The brake system generates a significant amount of heat during operation, which can cause the outer casing of the cable to expand and contract. This expansion and contraction can lead to the cable's failure or reduced efficiency, resulting in brake failure. PTFE tubes can withstand high temperatures and prevent the outer casing from expanding and contracting, ensuring that the cable operates at peak efficiency even under extreme conditions.

PTFE tubes also offer excellent chemical resistance, making them ideal for use in harsh environments. Brake fluids contain various chemicals that can corrode the metal or plastic outer casing of the cable, reducing its lifespan and effectiveness. However, PTFE tubes are highly resistant to chemicals, ensuring that the brake cable remains functional and efficient for an extended period.

In addition to their functional benefits, PTFE tubes offer several advantages from a manufacturing perspective. The PTFE tubes can be extruded in long lengths, reducing the need for joints and connections, which can be a source of weakness and failure. The extruded PTFE tube can also be cut to the desired length and inserted into the outer casing, simplifying the manufacturing process and reducing production costs. The PTFE tube's flexibility also allows it to be easily formed to fit different cable configurations, making it suitable for use in a variety of vehicles and applications.

PTFE tubes in brake cables have a significant impact on vehicle safety. Brake failure is a leading cause of accidents, and the use of PTFE tubes can help prevent brake failure due to wear and tear, high temperatures, or chemical corrosion. The smooth operation and consistent performance of the brake system ensure that the driver can stop the vehicle quickly and safely, reducing the risk of accidents and injuries.

In conclusion, PTFE tubes are an essential component of high-end brake cables, providing significant benefits in terms of efficiency, durability, and safety. As safety standards become more stringent in India, it is likely that we would see an additional explosion in demand from the four-wheeler segment.

Read More

1. Graphene in Polymers - The Way of the Future

2. Injection Moulding of PEEK and PPS

3. PTFE Seals in Food Processing


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