Acid Aging Effects on Surfaces of PTFE Gaskets Investigated by Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy
Authors: L. Giorgini, C. Fragassa, G. Zattini, A. Pavlovic
Number of views: 233
This paper investigates the effect of a prolonged acid and thermal attack, on the surface of PTFE by Fourier Transform Infrared Micro-Spectroscopy (FT-IR). The materials are commercialized by two alternative producers in form of Teflon tapes. These tapes are installed in process plants where tires moulds are cleaned inside a multistage ultrasonic process. In these cases, Teflon tapes, having a role of gaskets, show inexplicably phenomena of degradation in relatively short operation periods. Even considering that these gaskets are exposed to the combined effect of ultrasonic waves, temperature, humidity and acid attack, the PTFE properties of resistance nominally exclude the possibility of these severe erosion phenomena. An interesting explanation can be related to the potential presence in the cleaning solution, mainly based on sulfamic acid, of highly reactive chemical compounds, as chlorides and fluorides, originated by the disaggregation of elements from the tire composition and/or additives used as processing aids and/or by catalytic effect generated by fluorine produced by PTFE degradation. In general, up to 300 different chemical elements, both organic and inorganic, natural and synthetic, are merged in a tire. Since this composition is practically unknown, especially regarding additives and “unusual elements”, representing a secrecy of each tire manufactures, it is really complex to define the chemical composition of the cleaning solution with an appropriate precision. As a consequence, the gaskets have been treated with different mixtures of acids in the way to combine a larger range of possibilities. Thus, the FT-IR experimental characterization of PTFE surface properties followed an appropriate accelerated aging, aiming at actuating the specific mechanics of wearing as in industrial use. The different acid treatments adopted for accelerating the aging of gaskets have highlighted the different behaviour of the PTFE matrix, but also differences between manufacturers.