On April 6, 1938, Dr. Roy Plunkett and his assistant Jack Rebok accidentally discovered polytetrafluoroethylene, a.k.a, Teflon. They were attempting to make a new chlorofluorocarbon, but instead ended up with the waxy white material we know as Teflon.
Teflon has a very low coefficient of friction and maintains its properties at both high and low temperatures, which is why it’s most well known for being the coating on non-stick frying pans. Its low friction coefficient also makes it great for fuel and hydraulic lines as well as for gears and bearing where sliding is needed. Teflon also has excellent dielectric properties making it a good insulator for wires and cables, and a low refractive index making it great for coating optical devices that might be subjected to harsh conditions.
So here’s to accidental discoveries!