One of the zinc oxide caltrops used as nano-staples (Image: Xin Jin, Copyright CAU)
Concept of the internal stapling process that allows PTFE and silicone to be solidly joined (Image: Jan Strüben, Copyright CAU)
A tangle of zinc oxide tetrapods suggests how unglueable surfaces can be held together through mechanical interaction (Image: Xin Jin, Copyright CAU)
Silicone glued to the center of a Teflon-coated frying pan (Image: Claudia Eulitz, Copyright CAU)
Zinc oxide tetrapods sinking into a PTFE surface during the heating phase of PTFE-silicone bonding (Image: Xin Jin, Copyright CAU)
Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) is best known by the DuPont brand name Teflon. Whatever it is called, PTFE is the third slipperiest solid known – the poster child for non-stick, non-reactive, non-friction, non-conducting, high-temperature, and generally high-performing polymers. Silicone also has a nearly non-bondable surface – if you try to paint a silicone sealant, it simply pops off as the paint dries. In particular, creating a strong bond between PTFE and silicone has never been accomplished, even in the chemical laboratory. Until now.
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