Too Slippery for a Gecko
This gecko is climbing straight up window glass. Glass is a slippery surface, but it’s not too slippery for a gecko. In fact, there is only one known surface that is too slippery for a gecko to climb. Its chemical name is polytetrafluoroethylene, or PTFE for short. You probably know it by the brand name Teflon®.
News You Can Use
- There’s a good chance that at least one pot or pan in your kitchen has a black plastic coating. That plastic is Teflon®.
- Since the 1950s, Teflon® has been a kitchen staple as a nonstick surface for pots and pans because it’s so slippery. But Teflon® has other properties that make it useful for a wide variety of purposes.
- You can learn more about Teflon®, its uses, and its discovery by watching this short video: http://on.aol.com/video/learn-about-the-origin-of-teflon-83227122
Show What You Know
Find out more about Teflon® at the links below. Then answer the following questions.
- How was Teflon® discovered?
- What is the chemical structure of Teflon®?
- Fluorine is a halogen, and halogens are among the most reactive of all chemical elements. Why is Teflon® nonreactive? What applications of Teflon® take advantage of this property of the material?
- Aluminum, which is widely used for cookware, has a coefficient of friction of about 0.61. What is the coefficient of friction? What is the coefficient of friction of Teflon®?
- Teflon® is hydrophobic. What does this mean?
- Besides cookware, Teflon® is used to make many other products for the home and for personal use. What are some of these products, and why is Teflon® used to make them?