What is PFPE?
When the topic of grease is brought up, most people know what greases are used, but rarely know what it’s made of. Silicone and hydrocarbon based greases are the most common greases on the market, especially for General Purpose Lubrication (GPL) greases.
PFPE or Perfluoropolyether is fluorine based long-chain polymer. The Polymer is made up of carbon, oxygen and fluorine atoms. Since all three elements are easy to work with, we are able to can change the molecular structure and make them linear, branched or a mixture of both. All in all, PFPE as a substance is easily adjusted to match the wanted physical properties. The diagram below shows a typical structure of a PFPE chemical.
Inertness and strong chemical bond
PFPE is probably most well-known for its inert properties, which is a major advantage it has over other chemicals. A side from its inert properties, PFPE is also one of the best polymers for highly reactive chemicals, which usually causes problems for regular greases. PFPE grease and other PFPE based lubricants, are anti-corrosive and can handle direct exposure and contact with strong acids and liquid oxygen.
PFPE consists of oxygen and fluorine atoms, bonded with carbon atoms, making it an extremely strong chemical bond that will not allow any other chemical to bond. This makes PFPE grease an excellent choice for many serious applications where the grease will just reject any other substance that comes in contact. On top of that, the inertness of PFPE allows for really high friction and high-temperature applications to perform optimally, without any corrosiveness, wearing of the surface, or attract dirt.
When PFPE grease is applied, it is important that the surface is properly cleaned and removed of all dirt. Once the PFPE grease is applied, the non-reactive fluorine atoms will form an extremely thin layer, which acts as a “slippery” layer. This layer will serve at a molecular level, as the heavy load or high-friction movements will allow the molecules of PFPE slip through, making it a lot smoother to operate. So by having a layer of strong PFPE grease, the wear of any product of machinery will drastically drop as the friction is reduced, dirt will not stick, and humidity will be repelled.
The only disadvantage of using PFPE grease, can be the fact that one kind of PFPE grease might not be optimal for every application, including different temperatures and etc. So to find the right PFPE grease, please make sure to choose one that falls within your operating temperature.