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Increasing cutting tool life by teflon impregnation

January 24, 2012

Q. I wanted to know if heat treated HSS (M42) and also carbide cutting tools will last longer with teflon impregnation? Or if it can be done at all.

Jim Altier
Tool mfg. - Ontario, California, USA

January 29, 2012

A. I can see no way in which a tool steel could be impregnated (as opposed to coated) with a polymer without thermally degrading the polymer or dramatically decreasing the strength of the steel.
That is probably good news.
A supplier has no control on the use of a tool which will probably be used to machine any metal the customer chooses. This will inevitably sometime include aluminium and magnesium.
Although PTFE is generally considered as an inert material, when finely divided, it can react violently with light metals.
The magnesium / PTFE reaction releases so much heat energy that it is commonly used for aircraft decoy flares.
Accidents have been reported where Aluminium and PTFE have been turned on the same lathe.
I would advise caution.

geoff smith
Geoff Smith
Hampshire, England

February 5, 2012

A. I agree with Geoff. Even when the necessary precautions to limit its exposure were taken, the heat generated during operation could raise the temperature beyond Teflon stability. There are other good alternatives for cutting, forming and sliding tools.
Guillermo Marrufo-Mexico

Guillermo Marrufo
Monterrey, NL, Mexico

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