Fluorination

Gas fluorination is another of the comprehensive range of services we offer our customers, enabling us to modify the surface properties of components without any effect on the core material itself.

Already used in industries such as automotive, pharmaceutical, packaging and construction, gas phase fluorination is a well-proven process that’s equally effective on plastics, polymers and rubber – and can be precisely controlled to deliver consistent and repeatable improvements in a variety of specific criteria.

Greatly reduced coefficient of friction is the principle benefit of fluorination, but it can also be used to enhance adhesion and bonding, increase chemical resistance, control permeation and improve wettability.

Because the gas accesses the entirety of the surface at a molecular level, fluorination is ideally suited to small or complex components, ensuring the desired effects are maintained across all edges, angles, openings and holes.

Everything you wanted to know about Fluorination but were afraid to ask

What can be fluorinated?

Everything that isn’t already fluorinated will fluorinate, but the material has also to be fluorine compatible and give sufficient benefit to make the process commercially worthwhile.

Any polyolefin fluorinates very well, but in addition to HDPE, LDPE, PP and UHMW-PE a variety of other materials, such as thermoplastics, rubbers and elastomers gain significant benefit from fluorination.

What is fluorination?

Fluoro-Seal is a conversion of the surface by reaction with fluorine gas under highly controlled conditions.

What levels of fluorination are available and which should I choose?

DP Seals can offer a number of standard levels of fluorination and a host of customer specific levels. The choice of which level of fluorination is dependent on the application and a host of other variables. For this reason, we always strongly recommend product testing to establish the correct fluorination treatment level required for your particular application.

How is fluorination performed?

Items to be treated are sealed in a vacuum autoclave, heated to 70 deg C and exposed to measured amounts of elemental fluorine gas, along with nitrogen at around 1/3 atmospheric pressure under tightly controlled conditions.

How long does the treatment last?

The fluorinated layer is not a coating or lacquer; it is a chemical conversion of the existing surface and as such is atomically bonded to the parent plastic. The treatment is permanent and the layer is not readily removable nor does it become unbound with time.

How is a container checked for fluorination and what quality control is in place?

A test piece is taken and put into every treatment and its fluorination status is checked using FT-IR infra-red photo spectroscopy.

Records of every test are maintained against reaction number and date, along with a full production log, and a certificate of conformity is issued with every order.

Easy sliding
Here’s an interesting way to explain how fluorination can aid in coefficiency of friction.

 

Fluorinated piston seals
These Fluorinated piston seals – used in the food industry – allow the piston to move smoothly, maintain air tight operation and prolong longevity through reduced friction, saving time and money on maintenance and replacement.

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