5 Weird Things You Didn’t Know About Teflon

Teflon gave us the gift of non-stick cookware. But that’s not the only thing this synthetic resin has up its sleeve.

Also known as Polytetrafluoro Ethylene, or PTFE, this material is used across the industry spectrum. Some may even surprise you!

Let’s take a look at five weird things you never knew about your favorite industrial coating.

1. Teflon Coated Dog Toys

Yes. The same PTFE that prevents your pancakes from sticking is the same PTFE in your favorite pet products.

This material has so many applications in the pet supply industry. One of them being tough chew toys for aggressive chewers like boxers, pit bulls, and golden retrievers.

Popular brands like Nylabone and KONG both coat their ultra-tough chew toys in non-toxic PTFE. It’s also used in food dishes and even dog beds to make them tear-resistant from chewing.

2. Happy Accident

Like post-notes, microwaves, and potato chips, Polytetrafluoro Ethylene was also created by accident.

It all started with two scientists from New Jersey who wanted to find an alternative to refrigerant gases. The two stored their experimental gas inside metal cylindrical containers. Then, the pair compressed and froze the containers before storing them.

The pair hoped to find a new alternative gas for refrigeration upon opening the containers. Instead, they found a waxy solid that became the Teflon you know and love today.

3. There’s Nothing More Slippery

To this day, there is no material more slippery than Polytetrafluoro Ethylene. Industries and investors took notice after its debut, and before long, both were vying for a piece of the pie.

As you can imagine, the possibilities were endless with the slipperiest substance ever made. But PTFE wouldn’t find its way into cookware until the 1960s. Up it until then, it was primarily used for post-war industrial parts.

Eventually, Teflon services began to crop up, offering additional consulting on its uses. Companies like these are still integral to aerospace, military, and consumer product industries.

4. It’s In Your Nail Polish

The beauty industry owes a huge debt of gratitude to PTFE. Especially top brands like Essie, Chanel, Sally Hansen, and Wet n’ Wild. These brands make some of the most popular nail polishes in the world.

Just imagine a manicure without that signature (and satisfying) slippery surface? You can’t! Much of what makes nail polish what is it is the PTFE.

Nail polish isn’t the only one to use PTFE in its formula. L’Oreal, Kylie Cosmetics, and MAKE beauty all use PTFE in their blushes and eyeshadows.

5. PTFE Doesn’t Corrode

Like stainless steel, aluminum, and silver, Polytetrafluoro Ethylene also doesn’t corrode. Just like its distinction as the most slippery substance created, its anti-corrosive properties is another reason why PTFE is so highly valued.

PTFE is so resistant to corrosion because of carbon-fluorine bonds. These bonds, and PTFE itself, are resistant to chemicals because they’re not water soluble.

That’s why PTFE is so important for any equipment that’s submerged underwater. Diving equipment, surfboards, and marine sealants all feature Polytetrafluoro Ethylene.

Discover More Uses for PTFE!

These are just five of the most fascinating uses for Teflon. Want to find more on your own? Just look for PTFE on the labels of your favorite products.

Remember, knowledge is power. Check back often to discover even more science facts and tidbits you never knew!

Melissa Thompson
Melissa Thompson writes about a wide range of topics, revealing interesting things we didn't know before. She is a freelance USA Today producer, and a Technorati contributor.