Fluoroplastic manufacturers

A guide to etching – how it can help and what it can be used for

What is etching?

In addition to being highly resistant to heat and chemicals, fluoroplastics also have low friction properties which makes them ideal for us as a ‘non-stick’ material. This makes them the ideal choice for use in a myriad of both everyday and more specialised objects spanning many different industries.

For this reason, fluoroplastics really are all around us. You might already be familiar with their usage as a non-stick coating for food processing equipment and cookware – and this non-stick ability makes them perfect for factory and industrial settings too.

Because almost nothing can stick to fluoroplastics, it is extremely hard for bacteria to build up on the material. Not only does this minimise bacterial contamination in a food and beverage production environment, but it also reduces the likelihood of infection in a medical setting too, making it ideal for use within medical instruments such as catheters and artificial heart valves.

Fluoroplastic’s low friction properties also prove convenient and useful for tubing within 3D printers, as liners for electrical wires, pipes, lights and thermometers, and even as a protective coating within dental fillings.

However, there are also times when you need fluoroplastic to be strong and resilient, but still attach it to other items and components. So to get around fluoroplastic’s inherent non-stick capabilities, the solution is to chemically etch the surface before bonding.

How can etching help?

If you are looking for a material which can withstand extreme temperatures and maintain its integrity over time, but you need to attach it to another material, then fluoroplastic etching is the perfect solution.

Etching involves immersing fluoroplastic material in a chemical solution to alter its molecular makeup and make it more malleable.

It is actually a unique and clever chemical process which works by stripping fluorine molecules from the carbon backbone of a fluoropolymer, leaving less electrons around its carbon atom. When exposed to the air, hydrogen, water and oxygen molecules work together with each other to restore the electrons, which then prompts a group of organic molecules to form hydrogen, and bond with each other – which ultimately enables adhesion.

Simply put, through chemical etching, we can alter the surface of fluoroplastic material to remove its non-stick characteristics, which enables it to be bonded together with other materials.

And brilliantly, because etching only affects the very top layer of a fluoropolymer, all of the material’s other capabilities, such as resistance to bacteria, stability over time, and the ability to withstand extreme temperatures, remain intact.

This means that etched fluoroplastic can be used in an even wider array of scenarios than non-etched.

Our Services

At Adtech, our chemical etching process is excellently suited for use with a diverse range of fluoroplastics including:

Fluoroplastic tubing
Heat-shrink sleeving in FEP, PFA and PTFE
FEP for roll covers, or, rubber hose lining applications

Depending on your project, perhaps you only require the inside or outside surface of a material to be etched. In this case, we can control the application of the etch by masking off a specific area, so that the etch is only present in the area which you need bonded.

We can also offer:

Inside Diameter (ID) and Outside Diameter (OD) for a set length
ID or OD only
ID and OD

Get in touch

If you require an etching service for a fluoroplastic project, or would like to find out more about how our etching service might benefit you, please give our expert technical Customer Service team a call on 01285 762000, or email us at sales@adtech.co.uk for more information.