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Teflon. This essay will discuss the uses of Teflon, and the myths and truths surrounding it.

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Introduction

STAGE 2 CHEMISTRY SOCIAL & ENVIRONMENTAL RELEVANCE TASK 2 CORNERSTONE COLLEGE Name: NATALIE BAMPTON Topic: TEFLON INTRODUCTION: Teflon is also known as polytetrafluoroethylene and can be found in cookware, electronics, aeronautics and clothing. It was invented by accident by Roy Plunkett, who was originally supposed to invent a CFC gas refrigerant for the company DuPont(tm). He was investigating a substance called TFE as an alternative to toxic refrigerants such as ammonia and sulphur dioxide. Since TFE is expensive, he froze it to keep it safe. While experimenting one day, he tried to empty one of the supposedly full canisters of TFE, when nothing came out. He opened the canister to find the TFE had polymerised into a white powder, because of the high pressure and low temperature. The waxy substance was Teflon; it was slippery, non-corrosive and chemically stable, which was a breakthrough for DuPont(tm) and the rest of the world. However, recent studies have shown that Teflon may be toxic or is even likely to cause cancer. ...read more.

Middle

The product of this polymerisation is polytetrafluoroethylene polymer. This polymer is most famous for its slipperiness. This is because of the fundamental part of this molecule: the fluorine atoms. Fluorine is the most electronegative atom of all, and within this structure, it is bonded to carbon which has a relatively low electronegativity. When fluorine is within a molecule, it does not react with other molecules (except for other fluorine atoms) because of the strong bonds between high and low electronegativity between the carbon and fluorine molecules. The fluorine atoms fully enclose the carbon chain causing the molecule repel the substances that come within its range. The fluorine atoms do not react with other molecules for two reasons. Firstly because of the fluorine atoms repelling other molecules, none can get close enough to react with PTFE. The second reason is because of the strong stable bond between carbon and fluorine, making the molecule essentially inert. ...read more.

Conclusion

The fumes are highly poisonous to birds but can also cause flu-like symptoms in humans. It is quite easy for a pan to heat up to such temperatures, which is why the heat has to be monitored very closely. Another health risk that PTFE poses is the amount of Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) in it. PFOA is used in the production of Teflon(r) and is likely to be carcinogenic, as well as causing birth defects, kidney and liver problems and infertility. In Washington, West Virginia, amounts of PFOA were found in the drinking water because of the close position of the DuPont(tm) factory. DuPont(tm) claims that they are looking for an alternative for this substance because of this risk, but claim that Teflon(r) can't be made without it. However PFOA is not only present in DuPont(tm) products, but can also be found in carpets of houses, microwave popcorn bags and house dust. Thefore it is not likely that Teflon(r) will be coming off the market anytime soon. CONCLUSION: Word count: 1004 words ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

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