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Features & Benefits - Fluoropolymers as Insulation

Featured Product from Northwire, Inc.

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Like many of the best discoveries, the first fluoropolymer, polytetrafluoroethylene or PTFE, was discovered by accident when DuPont chemist Dr. Roy Plunket was working with fluorocarbon refrigerant gasses. When Dr. Plunket went to open one of the gas cylinders, no gas came out. Instead, a white waxy solid that did not melt or dissolve was found inside which would come to be known as PTFE or Teflon®.

Historically, PTFE has not been melt processable. Ram extrusion has been the most common way to process the material in the wire and cable industry. This process takes PTFE in a powder form and gravity feeds it into a chamber. A hydraulic ram pushes the resin from the chamber to the die. The downside to this process is that you are limited on the length of material you can process, and the thickness can be very inconsistent. These limitations are what motivated Northwire to offer a better solution and an extrudable PTFE that can be processed with a traditional screw extruder, which results in no length restrictions and a very uniform wall thickness in terms of cable insulation.  More on that later…

Since the discovery of PTFE, many additional fluoropolymers have been discovered, which has mainly been driven by the need for an extrudable or melt processable PTFE. There are several fluoropolymer material options on the market, continue reading for some of the most common in the cable and wire industry.