Tetrafluoroethylene

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tetrafluoroethylene

[¦te·trə¦flu̇r·ō′eth·ə‚lēn]
(organic chemistry)
F2C:CF2 A flammable, colorless, heavy gas, insoluble in water, boils at 78°C; used as a monomer to make polytetrafluoroethylene polymers, for example, Teflon. Abbreviated TFE.

Tetrafluoroethylene

 

(also called perfluoroethylene), CF2=CF2, a colorless, odorless gas insoluble in water but soluble in organic solvents. Its boiling point is –76.3°C.

Tetrafluoroethylene has all the characteristic properties of fluorinated olefins, and it readily polymerizes and copolymerizes with many monomers—for example, vinylidene fluoride, hexafluoropropylene, trifluorochlorethylene, and ethylene. It is produced industrially by the pyrolysis of chlorodifluoromethane, CF2ClH, at 650°–800°C and at atmospheric pressure and is stored in steel tanks in the presence of polymerization inhibitors, such as tertiary amines. It forms explosive mixtures with air in concentrations of 13.4–46.4 percent by volume. It is slightly toxic; its maximum permissible concentration in air is 20 mg/m3.

Tetrafluoroethylene is mainly used in the production of polytetrafluoroethylene. Some of its copolymers are elastomers.