Steel Manufacturing Blog: Keeping it Steel

Teflon®: It Keeps Appearing in Different Forms

Posted on Wed, Mar 23, 2016 @ 01:18 PM

From the basic Teflon® Slide Bearing under a joist flange or between two steel members, to the miles long Oil Pipelines requiring hundreds of Slide Bearings with Stainless Steel backing plates, Teflon® keeps appearing on plans in many different forms. Before even designing the dimensions and configuration, the engineer has to first consider the environment the bearing will need to function in.

Benefits of PTFE

Plain Virgin Teflon®, generic name PTFE (Polytetrafluoroethylene), offers very low co-efficient of friction and at the same time has relatively good compressive strength. Its compromise is that it softens at relatively low temperatures. Fluorogold® is a composite of PTFE combined with glass fibers. The result is an almost equally low co-efficient of friction, equal compressive strength but with the added feature of being able to maintain its compressive strength in much higher temperatures. Additionally, the glass fiber offers greater durability in harsh environments like Pipelines and Bridges. Both Teflon® and Fluorogold® provide excellent barriers when used as Thermal Breaks as well.

Teflon® Cross Spacers

teflon spacersShaped like crosses and only 1-1/8” from flat to flat, these parts are used similarly to the way ceramic tile setters use spacers. They are separating steel members and maintain them at a uniform distance.

The difference is that ceramic tile shims only serve their function until the grout is applied. If these Teflon® Spacers are used in an application where there is repeated movement, some vibration is needed to be dampened or an energy transfer should be prohibited such as a Thermal Break.

As a medium to work with, PTFE is relatively soft to cut but is more difficult to hold in place. Any production machining operation will require the work piece is clamped in place and not move during the cut. Aside from being slippery, Teflon® is not very hard and cannot be clamped firmly without indenting the surface. Proper clamps and machining techniques will result in more accurate tolerances and greater consistency from piece to piece.

Slide Bearings for Structural Steel, Pipelines, Machinery, Heating Systems and More!

When you work with The Steel Supply Co., any size or configuration Slide Bearing can be made to order. For more information about Teflon® Slide Bearings, click the button below. 

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