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PFAS in the Commercial Transportation Industry

When it comes to modern transportation, there’s a lot that is only possible through the use of fluoropolymers. These essential functions include, but are not limited to, helping to reduce emissions from vehicles when they run and when they park, and extending the service life of vehicle powertrains. While we might not be able to see these applications from the outside, without fluoropolymers, every mode of transportation would be affected, from cars, trucks and motorcycles on the highway to tractors, bulldozers and excavators in the field, to airplanes in the sky.

Fluoropolymers can accomplish this wide range of work because of their key attributes – they are resistant to many liquids and chemicals, including oil and fuel, they insulate against electricity and stand up to extremes in temperature. This combination of properties makes fluoropolymers unmatched in the sealing materials market.

According to a study by PlasticsEurope, an association of plastic manufacturers, “modern road transport emission standards could not have been achieved without these materials,” as they “contribute to safety, engine efficiency, weight reductions and emission control, thereby improving fuel efficiency and reducing leaks and fugitive emissions.”

For example, fluoropolymers are used in automobiles in:

  • Fuel pump seals, protecting against fuel loss.
  • Fuel tank rollover valve seals, preventing fuel loss in case of accident.
  • Differential shaft seals, avoiding engine oil leakages.

When it comes to commercial aircraft, safety is priority number one: Fluoropolymers are used in the insulation of the wiring for communication and fly-by-wire, in the sealing of hydraulic and fuel lines, as well as engine seals. Fluoropolymer solutions in cable insulation allow for high speed data communication while meeting stringent fire and smoke protection standards. Fluoropolymers contribute to the modern flight experience including entertainment and communication as well as modern, durable interior surfaces.

While some alternative materials might match individual properties of fluoropolymers, they do not meet the combined requirements critical for an ever-changing regulatory landscape, nor for engineering applications critical to the future of transportation. As such, fluoropolymers have enabled many safety, durability and efficiency performance advancements.

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