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Press Release 2012

Home > Press Release > 2012 > January 30

Development of High-Performance Fluororesin Coating with Dramatically Improved Wear Resistance

January 30, 2012
Sumitomo Electric Industries, Ltd.
Sumitomo Electric Fine Polymer, Inc.

Sumitomo Electric Industries, Ltd. has developed a high-performance fluororesin coating that exhibits higher wear resistance and lubricity than most other plastics and has made arrangements to supply samples.

Rendered image of PTFE molecules

The high-performance fluororesin coating is made from polytetrafluoroethylene(※1) (PTFE). PTFE has distinct properties such as high lubricity (the lowest coefficient of friction among solids) and non-stickiness. In addition, it provides excellent heat resistance, chemical resistance and weatherability. The Sumitomo Electric Group offers diverse PTFE-coated products, including Sumiflon-coated aluminum for rice cooker inner bowls and frying pans, Sumiflon rollers for fusing and pressurizing in copiers and printers, and the porous fluororesin film Poreflon for water treatment and air filter applications.

 

However, in PTFE, bonds are weak between fluorine atoms. Accordingly, the material’s resistance to wear is low. Consequently, in sliding applications where high lubricity would be beneficial, use of the material has been limited to exceptional cases.

 

High-performance fluororesin coatingSumitomo Electric and Sumitomo Electric Fine Polymer, Inc. combined their years of experience in fluororesin processing and electron beam irradiation(※2) to successfully develop this high-performance fluororesin coating with dramatically improved wear resistance.

 

More specifically, in that process, PTFE is coated onto a base material such as an aluminum sheet, followed by direct irradiation of electron beams via a special technique intended to strengthen molecular bonds, or provide cross-links(※3), through the entire coating.

 

Consequently, the coating is provided with significantly improved wear resistance and higher adhesion with the base material. Incidentally, PTFE’s conventional properties, such as excellent lubricity, are kept intact.

Thrust abrasion testing(※4) conducted at Sumitomo Electric revealed that the high-performance fluororesin coating has extremely higher wear resistance than Sumiflon-coated aluminum, the POM(※5) most commonly used as a sliding part material and super engineering plastic PEEK(※6) (with PTFE being more than ten times higher in wear resistance than PEEK).


Sheets provided with the high-performance fluororesin coating can be pressed into split bushings(※7) used as automotive parts, as well as complex-shaped sliders. Furthermore, they can be easily molded into complex shapes that were conventionally difficult to achieve. Moreover, the high-performance fluororesin coating technology is environmentally friendly in that high sliding characteristics impart a reduced torque on rotating journals, conserving energy, and facilitate the use of lubricant-free bearings. As a next step, we will study the application of this technology to parts formed into any desired shape, including shafts used in automobiles and in other various industrial machines.

 

【Terminology】

 

※1

Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE)

A straight-chain polymer consisting of fluorine (F) and carbon (C) atoms. The extremely strong and stable C-F bonds give PTFE excellent heat resistance, chemical resistance and weatherability. The polymer’s other features include the lowest electronegativity and polarity among polymers, which is exhibited as a low tendency to attract foreign molecules, and extremely low cohesive force between fluorine atoms.

 

※2

Electron beam irradiation
Sumitomo Electric introduced Japan’s first commercial electron beam accelerator in 1964 and has manufactured and sold cross-linked plastics produced by electron beam irradiation, such as heat-shrinkable tube Sumitube, heat-resistant tube Irrax tube, and modified engineering plastic Teralink.

 

※3

Cross-link

Chemical reaction that links one molecular chain to another. Highly strong covalent bonds of cross-link improve various properties such as heat, chemical and wear resistance. The newly developed technology can be applied to PFA, FEP and other fluororesins, as well as to PTFE.

 

※4

Thrust abrasion test

Test method of applying a thrust load (perpendicular) to a sample sheet. In the previously mentioned test, a ring-like abrading piece made of S45C under load was pressed for 10 minutes against a sample rotating at 1800 rpm to examine the amount of wear on the sample (illustrated at right).

※5

POM (polyacetal)

Plastic with excellent wear resistance and lubricity for general-purpose sliding applications

 

※6

PEEK (polyether ether ketone)

One of the highest-performance commercially available plastics for sliding applications

 

※7

Split bushing

Example application to split bushingsA bearing constructed of a coated aluminum or other metal sheet formed into a cylinder. Split bushings have a slit. Seamless press-formed bushings are presently under development.

 

▼For more information about our products, contact:

Fine Polymer Sales Dept., Electronics Sales Unit, Sumitomo Electric Industries, Ltd.
TEL : +81-6-6220-4321
FAX : +81-6-6220-4104

・Sumiflon, Poreflon, Sumitube, and Irrax are trademarks or registered trademarks of Sumitomo Electric Industries, Ltd.
・Teralink is trademark or registered trademark of Sumitomo Electric Fine Polymer, Inc.

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