Fluoropolymers / Alfa Chemistry

Recycling of Fluoropolymer Scraps

Recycling of Fluoropolymer Scraps

Alfa Chemistry Fluoropolymers provides factory fluoropolymer waste recycling services, turning high-value factory waste into clean, cost-saving raw materials. Our professional processing equipment can remove dust, fines, debris and foreign matter pollution in fluoropolymer waste, thereby improving the recycling efficiency of fluoropolymer and its product value. We recycle all forms of PTFE, FEP, PFA, and ETFE, including scrap parts, bleed, purge, sprues, runners, gates, virgin off spec, prime virgin overstocks and obsolete inventory.

Sources of fluoropolymer waste

Fluoropolymer scraps are generated in various processing steps of fluoropolymers, such as preforming, molding, machining, grinding, and cutting, including both before and after sintering (most). In addition, fluoropolymers that do not meet specifications and cannot be used in their intended applications are also a type of scraps.

Fluoropolymer recycling methods

  • Most melt-processable fluoropolymers can be reprocessed in a manner similar to other thermoplastics.
  • Due to the high melt viscosity of PTFE, it is difficult to remelt and mix with the original material, especially if it contains mineral fillers. The PTFE waste can be reused by cleaning, grinding, and in this form for plunger extrusion.
  • PTFE is often compounded with glass fiber, carbon fiber, bronze, molybdenum sulfide, etc., or compounded with other high-performance polymers for reuse.
  • Fluoropolymer scraps from processing operations are treated with radiation to significantly reduce molecular weight and obtain fine powder. The most common process uses an electron beam processor, and gamma radiation can also be used.
  • High-molecular-weight PTFE can also be converted into micronized powder through thermal degradation or shear degradation.
  • Fluoropolymer waste may contain organic solvents, metals, moisture and other contaminants.
  • (1) For organic pollutants, heating above its melting point can be used to oxidize them into gases and volatile products, thereby removing organic pollutants in fluoropolymers.

    (2) For inorganic compound impurities, a mixture of nitric acid and perchloric acid is usually used to heat the material to remove the inorganic compound impurities in the fluoropolymer. The acid mixture is highly oxidizing and can convert inorganic materials into water-soluble salts, which are then washed with water to remove them.

Application of recycled fluoropolymer

  • Recycled fluoropolymer plastics can be made into fluorine-containing additives and added to plastics, inks, oils, lubricants and coatings to give them fluoropolymer-like properties, such as reducing wear rate and friction.
  • The use of reprocessed (reground) PTFE resin has limitations. Compared with pure PTFE, its various properties are reduced, such as tensile strength, elongation, creep rate and void content. Therefore, the use of reprocessed materials is limited to applications where cost is an important consideration and lower performance is sufficient to satisfy the application.
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