How Teflon Went From Wartime to Dinner Time | WIRED


POLYTETRAFLUOROETHYLENE WILL NOT dissolve in acetone or ether or concentrated sulfuric acid. When Roy Plunkett first found it coating some storage canisters in 1938, he tried to destroy the substance with just about every technique known to science. A young employee at DuPont, Plunkett had been hired to develop a new refrigerant. But when he cooled and compressed a gas he was testing, a waxy white powder unexpectedly formed—that stuff he couldn’t eradicate. The material was brought to the attention of US Army general Leslie Groves, director of the Manhattan Project, who commissioned DuPont to design a plant that used polytetrafluoroethylene seals and gaskets.

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