Geckos and Gravity

2 minutes, 30 seconds Read

Surface treatments can transform the properties of an object or part, whether that is highly technical products such as electroless nickel coating or something we are more familiar with like PTFE coatings. While we all know what a PTFE coating is, found in everything from frying pans to space suits, it protects from extreme temperatures and reduces friction. In fact, it’s known as one of the slipperiest surfaces around, but here are five things you never knew about PTFE coatings.

It can confound a Gecko

Geckos are wonderful animals that have adapted to a life that seemingly ignores gravity. Each gecko has hairs growing from the pads on their feet that allow them to cling to almost any surface. Trees, walls, geckos can even hang from a ceiling with ease thanks to the grip from those hairs.

But what they can’t defeat is a PTFE coating. They are unable to grip anywhere this surface treatment has been applied, and it is the only thing that can defeat a gecko. For more details on Surface Treatments, visit

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It was created by accident while looking for an improved refrigerator coolant

PTFE coatings all stem from a happy accident. In 1938, DuPont assigned one of its team a task to find an alternative coolant that was non-toxic and non-flammable. That team member was Roy J. Plunkett, who set up a series of trials to assess new materials. After much experimentation, one of the materials created was PTFE, which had some very unique properties, and the rest is history. Roy was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame for his remarkable discovery.

Life at the sharp end

If you’ve had an injection recently, and most of us have, then you’ve experienced PTFE coatings up close and personal. Most needles used in the medical industry today feature a PTFE coating to make it easier for the needle to penetrate the skin due to reduced friction. This reduces pain for the patient, and it lowers the chances of a needle breaking for the medical professional.

It made the Mars Rover mission possible

One of the things we knew about Mars before sending the Mars Rover to explore the surface, was that the atmosphere was very unsuitable for airborne vehicles. High winds and lots of dust create the worst conditions for flight as the dust can stick to the surface of the craft, adding weight and jamming controls.

However, by adding this coating to the surface, NASA was able to protect the vehicle by preventing the dust from sticking, ensuring that the mission was successful, and the rover landed safely.

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PTFE Coatings are even used in bullet manufacture

When it comes to weapons, electroless nickel coating and other surface treatments are quite common, but one you probably didn’t think would appear on bullets is PTFE. Bullets with this coating cause less wear to the barrel when fired, thanks to the lower friction levels, improving weapon reliability.

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