Article Image
IPFS News Link • Science, Medicine and Technology

New Experiment to Test Super Teflon in Space

• Space
Teflon-coated frying pans may scratch easily, but a souped-up version, a nanomaterial 10,000 times more durable than the ordinary non-stick stuff, is headed for the space station to see if it could someday coat the mechanical moving parts of spacecraft.

But first it must prove it can survive ultraviolet radiation, atomic oxygen, extreme temperatures and other space hazards, after blasting off Monday aboard the space shuttle Atlantis on a course for the International Space Station (ISS).

Astronauts intend to install the material outside the space station during one of the mission's planned spacewalks.

The super Teflon could theoretically slide across a surface for more than 62,000 miles (100,000 km) before wearing away, compared to ordinary Teflon that would last just a mile or so. Researchers added fluoride-coated alumina nanoparticles that helped boost the material's strength and durability, even as it retained most of the Teflon's non-stick slipperiness.