Minerals, Metals, and Other Materials

Man-Made Products

Who invented Teflon?

In 1938, the American engineer Roy J. Plunkett (1910–1994) at DuPont de Nemours discovered the polymer of tetraluorethylene (PTFE) by accident. This fluorocarbon is marketed under the name of Fluon in Great Britain and Teflon in the United States. Patented in 1939 and first exploited commercially in 1954, PTFE is resistant to all acids and has exceptional stability and excellent electrical insulating properties. It is used in making piping for corrosive materials, in insulating devices for radio transmitters, in pump gaskets, and in computer microchips. In addition, its nonstick properties make PTFE an ideal material for surface coatings. In 1956, French engineer Marc Gregoire discovered a process whereby he could fix a thin layer of Teflon on an aluminum surface. He then patented the process of applying it to cookware, and the no-stick frying pan was created.


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