Teflon is the brand name of the polymer polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) discovered by Roy J. Plunkett (1910–1994) of DuPont in 1938 and introduced as a commercial product in 1946. It is a fluoropolymer but not a thermoplastic in the true sense.
PTFE has the lowest coefficient of friction of any known solid material. It is used as a non-stick coating for pans and other cookware. PTFE is very non-reactive and is often used in containers and pipework for reactive chemicals. Its melting point is 327°C, but its properties degrade above 260°C. At this point gaseous fluorine compounds are released that are dangerous to humans.
Other polymers with similar composition are known by the Teflon name: fluorinated ethylene-propylene (FEP) and perfluoroalkoxy polymer resin (PFA). They retain the useful properties of PTFE of low friction and non-reactivity, but are more easily formable. FEP is softer than PTFE and melts at 260°C; it is highly transparent and resistant to sunlight.