The key difference between PTFE and RPTFE is that PTFE is polytetrafluoroethylene, whereas RPTFE is reinforced polytetrafluoroethylene.
The term PTFE stands for polytetrafluoroethylene, which is a polymer material containing fluorocarbon units as the repeating unit. The common name for this polymer material is Teflon. RPTFE, on the other hand, is the reinforced form of Teflon. Reinforced means Teflon is added with some other materials to make it stronger. Generally, glass and carbon are the reinforcing materials for Teflon.
What is PTFE?
PTFE is polytetrafluoroethylene. The common name for this polymer material is Teflon. It has fluorocarbon units as repeating units. It is a synthetic fluoropolymer. The general formula of this material is (C2F4)n. We can show it as follows:
PTFE is a high molecular weight material containing only carbon and fluorine atoms. It exists in the solid-state at room temperature. Water cannot wet this material because it is hydrophobic. Moreover, this material is considered non-reactive and useful as a non-stick coating. This nonreactive nature arises due to the strength of the C-F bond. Due to this property, PTFE is useful in manufacturing containers and pipes. Furthermore, we can use this material as a lubricant as well. As a lubricant, it can reduce friction and the energy consumption of machinery. Besides, this material is poorly soluble in almost all the solvents.
The method of Teflon production is free-radical polymerization. We can make Teflon by polymerizing tetrafluoroethylene. However, this production process requires specialized apparatus because tetrafluoroethylene tends to explosively convert into tetrafluoromethane. It is a dangerous side reaction.
When considering its polymer properties, PTFE is a thermoplastic polymer. It occurs as a white solid at room temperature. The density of this material is about 2200 kg/m3. At very low temperatures, Teflon shows very high strength and toughness with self-lubrication properties. At high temperatures, it has good flexibility as well. Since this material is highly unreactive, the chemical species that can make a significant effect on it includes highly reactive chemical species such as alkali metals.
What is RPTFE?
RPTFE is reinforced polytetrafluoroethylene. This material contains some added components other than polytetrafluoroethylene molecules. This is a variation of Teflon. Often, the fillers manufacturers use for the reinforcement include glass fibre, carbon, bronze, graphite, etc. Using glass fibre is the most common method, and the content of glass fibre in RPTFE can vary from 5 to 40%. This addition improves the wear properties of the material. If we are using carbon as the filler material, the content may vary from 10 to 35%. When increasing the carbon content, the addition of graphite is done.
What is the Difference Between PTFE and RPTFE?
PTFE and RPTFE are important polymer materials. The key difference between PTFE and RPTFE is that PTFE is polytetrafluoroethylene, whereas RPTFE is reinforced polytetrafluoroethylene. Due to the reinforcement, RPTFE has high strength compared to PTFE. PTFE contains only polytetrafluoroethylene units, but in RPTFE there is a reinforcing material other than polytetrafluoroethylene units. This added material is often glass fibre. However, other reinforcing components can be used for this purpose as well. Some examples include carbon, bronze, and graphite.
Below is a tabulation of the difference between PTFE and RPTFE.
Summary – PTFE vs RPTFE
PTFE and RPTFE are important polymer materials. The key difference between PTFE and RPTFE is that PTFE is polytetrafluoroethylene, whereas RPTFE is reinforced polytetrafluoroethylene. Moreover, the common name for PTFE is Teflon.
1.“The Properties and Advantages of PTFE.” AFT Fluorotec, 19 July 2016, Available here.
2.“Reinforced PTFE.” Solutions in Plastics, 26 Apr. 2007, Available here.
3. “PTFE/RPTFE VALVE SEAL.” D.Jones & Co (P) Ltd, 25 Apr. 2018, Available here.
1. “Teflon structure” (GPL) via Commons Wikimedia