Teflon is nice to use because it is so inert. It is actually more inert than stainless steel because you don't have to worry about any random metal ions. The problem is durability. It is difficult to get good sanitary connections with Teflon because of the pliability issues. It can be done but it is fairly expensive to do it right. The temperature and pressure constraints on Teflon also make it a little hairy if you are planning on using steam to sterilize. Again, it can be done as long as the steam pressure/temp. is controlled well enough. Depending on the scope of the job, by the time you figure in the costs for fittings, tubing, maintenance, etc., it is probably actually cheaper (or almost as cheap) to install stainless and it will certainly last longer. That being said, if there is a significant cost pressure that makes Teflon more attractive (like 1/2 the cost) then there is no reason it could not be used for this application. (If the stainless steel pricing they are getting for the project is really 2x the Teflon cost then they need to look at another contractor for their stainless fabrication work.)
This information above was supplied by our Director of Engineering as a response to the inquiry.
Head of Quality Assurance
From: [log in to unmask] [mailto:[log in to unmask]]
Sent: Thursday, December 11, 2003 3:48 PM
To: [log in to unmask]; [log in to unmask]
Subject: Teflon tubing versus stainless steel piping
Does anyone have any experience with Teflon tubing used for suppling a compressed gas mixture to a product versus stainless steel piping? I am looking basically at microbial, durability, ability to withstand a liquid nitrogen flush or ETO/Steam sterilization. I am only asking because we of course are trying to save money but do not want to create any issues with out product.
QE Validation Microbiologist
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