Roy J. Plunkett

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Roy J. Plunkett 2016-12-06T05:35:21+00:00

Roy J. Plunkett
(1910 – 1994)

discovered polytetrafluorethylene

Roy J. Plunkett was born in New Carlisle, Ohio on 26 June 1910. In 1935 he joined DuPont as a research chemist in their laboratory in Deepwater, New Jersey.

Whilst researching fluorocarbon refrigerants, Dr Plunkett and his technician, Jack Rebok observed that a cylinder of tetrafluorethylene gas under pressure was apparently empty. On cutting open the cylinder they found that the gas had polymerised in the cylinder to a white solid. Examination of the polymer showed it to possess a remarkable combination of properties – chemical inertness, low dielectric loss, resistance to very high and very low temperatures and very low friction. It was patented in 1941 and given the name Teflon.

Dr Plunkett was inducted into the National Inventors’ Hall of Fame in 1985, 10 years after retiring from DuPont as Director of Operations producing their Freon refrigerants.

He died in Corpus Christi, Texas on 12 May 1994.