Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE), synonymous with Teflon (DuPont's registered brand name), was first accidentally discovered in 1938 by Roy Plunkett. Since then, a number of specialty fluoropolymers have been manufactured and commercialized. However, PTFE continues to command the largest market share among all the variants of fluoropolymers. In terms of demand, the market for fluoropolymers has expanded at a faster rate than its peers since the last few years due to the former's superior functional characteristics and easy process ability.
Industrial processing was the largest end-user segment of the fluoropolymers market in 2015. It encompasses a wide range of industrial applications. The industrial processing segment accounted for more than 30% share of the global fluoropolymers market in terms of volume in 2015. It includes coatings applied on cookware, chemical processing plants, pipes and valves, and telecommunication cables. Fluoropolymers are used in industrial products in the form of coatings, additives, resins, and films depending upon the product's applicability and exposure of heat and chemicals. Electrical & electronics industry is another prominent end-user of fluoropolymers. Applications in this industry include manufacture of semiconductors, electrical cables and wires, and electronic circuit boards. Applications in the automotive segment include products such as fuel hoses, firewall seals, hydraulic o-ring seals, valve liners, clips for jet engines, fuel tank bladders, gaskets (valve & manifold), lathe cut gaskets, and shaft seals. Fluoropolymers are also employed in construction and medical applications in lower quantity.
PTFE was the first fluoropolymers to be commercialized. It accounted for the largest market share among all product types in 2015. PTFE is widely used in industrial applications. It is employed as coatings on cookware, chemical processing equipment, electronics, textiles, and medical devices. Apart from PTFE, polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF) and fluorinated ethylene propylene (FEP) are the other popular fluoropolymers. PVDF and FEP are widely used in wire & cable insulation owing to their toughness, inertness, and engineering advantages. FEP is also extensively employed in the production of industrial films and electronics.