A surprising polymer
Belarusian scientists discover new properties of the old material
Researchers of the Metal-Polymer Mechanics Research Institute of the Belarusian Academy of Sciences discovered unexpected properties of polytetrafluoroethylene, a polymer also known as Fluoroplastic-
When Belarusian scientists lasered a sample in vacuum, they saw sort of fluffy ‘moustaches’ growing from the plastic that quickly filled free space with snow-white ‘wadding’. A closer study of the strange substance revealed that at the nanolevel the resulting material had a very sophisticated surface. How can it be used?
“Understanding the value of our findings, we patented the method, registered the trademark -- Griftex -- and started deep research and technological experiments,” explains chief researcher of the Physics and Technology of Thin Films department at the Metal-Polymer Mechanics Research Institute of the National Academy of Sciences Evgeny Tolstopyatov, Dr. of Engineering. “First, Griftex was applied in filtering. Grif filters proved most efficient in natural gas purification. Almost 1.5 thousand filter elements have been supplied to our partner, a machine-building plant in Ukraine’s
Ivan Tsydik of the medical university proved in his thesis that ‘wadding’ can be used for soft tissue plastic surgeries.
Experiments show that Griftex can be used also for manufacture of bandages that are more efficient for wound healing than traditional ones. The thing is that cotton bandages absorb moisture that can be a cause of pathogenic microbe penetration, while fluoroplastic fiber is water-resistant.
According to experts, medicine will be only one of many uses of the new material. It can be used as an inert carrier in catalysis systems, as a radio-transparent porous material in high-frequency electromagnetic fields, in sensors and electrical power sources, as a means of fine purification, and as filters in environmental monitoring devices. In addition, researchers are working on creation of thin fluoroplastic films that will open up a new page in integrated organic optics and power radio electronics.