View Full Version : Ever heard of "Fluorogold" plastic?

Doc Nickel
02-07-2008, 03:36 AM
I have two blocks, nominally 6" x 2", of a somewhat dirty-yellow plastic with labels identifying it as "Fluorogold".

The tags are rather aged, making me think this stuff dates to the mid seventies or so. A Google search shows two different matches: One is apparently a biological marker of some kind, the other is in reference to sliding bearings.

The latter makes me think okay, this stuff is probably a lot like Teflon. Feels like it, if maybe a bit softer and a tad lighter.

I have no real use for this stuff, so I was considering putting it up on eBay, and taking whatever I could get. Anyone have any further info on this stuff? What it might be used for? What it might be worth?


02-07-2008, 06:49 AM
You need to work on your Google-Fu Doc. It's made by Saint-Gobain. It's glass fiber filled PTFE. It's about the same specs as Rulon. It is designed for used in high static load applications such as sliding plane bearings to support buildings in earthquake zones. It has a PV of 10,000 and a continuous service temp of 500F. Max static load rating is 1000 psi.

02-07-2008, 10:45 AM
Rulon is some high dollar stuff. I pay $16 ea. for some little bushings made of the stuff.

02-07-2008, 01:56 PM
I don't know about the Rulon but this Fluorogold is something like 25% glass fiber. It will be a pain to machine and eat tools. It's intended to not creep under load. Not sure how good it would be in a machine plane bearing application.

Doc Nickel
02-07-2008, 04:50 PM
Well, unless the glass fibers are microscopic, this stuff doesn't have any. I shaved a small corner with an eXacto, and it's softer and smoother to cut than even Delrin. There's sure as heck not 25% glass in there.

As for not flowing, this stuff's pretty soft- I can't see it being more resistant to flowing than Teflon...

As I said, this stuff's pretty old- could they have simply attached the name to a different substance between when this stuff was made and today's glass-filled stuff?


02-07-2008, 07:42 PM
Don't ask me then. Fluorogold is a trade name of St. Gobain and always has been. I'll bet somebody guessed what it is and mislabeled the material.

First hit when I look up 'fluorogold st gobain' (http://www.google.ca/search?hl=en&q=Fluorogold+st+gobain+specification&btnG=Google+Search&meta=)

1. To accommodate movement under load with minimal friction.
2. To provide release or sliding surfaces at bearing ends of structural members, thereby accommodating
shrinkage or thermal motion of members.
3. To isolate components or parts of a structure or assembly of parts when their relative movements must
be independent of each other.
4. To provide a release bearing system in order to prevent stresses from entering certain parts of a structure.
5. To provide positive seismic separations.
Composition Fluorogold is a special formulation of Teflon TFE, reinforced with a strong glass aggregate and other
reinforcing agents to provide a structural material that offers significant compressive strength without cold creep, yet retains the low friction and chemical inertness of virgin Teflon

The Fluorogold composition, molded, sintered, and skived to the required thicknesses, is factory bonded to specially prepared backing plates, such as carbon steel, stainless steel or elastomeric-backed plates.

Fluorogold bearing composition is identified by its own characteristic gold color. Pure unfilled Teflon is a cloudy white color and may be processed into nearly any color by use of coloring agents. By always looking for exclusive golden color, you are assured that only the properly engineered structural Teflon composition know as Fluorogold is being utilized.

02-09-2008, 09:52 AM
Doc, like Evan says, Fluorogold is a glass filled Teflon composite. If you look in the linear bearings section in the current MSC catalog, they have steel bushings that are lined with Fluorogold. The MSC catalog advertises them as drop-in replacements for Oillite bushings.

Like you've noticed, the Teflon bushings are soft and prone to creep, so they have relatively low PV ratings (pressure x FPM). A higher-tech version of Fluorogold is Nylatron GSM, which is a Nylon/Molydenum DiSulfide composite, which has a PV rating of 10,000. The 80/20 linear bushings are Nylatron GSM, and I'm pretty sure the iGlide G250 bushings are as well.

Fluorogold is comprised of virgin Teflon and special reinforcing agents. This blend yields a structural material that offers significantly higher mechanical properties than Teflon itself. Compressive creep is virtually eliminated, wear is substantially reduced and initial deformation is decreased. However, the low friction and chemical inertness of Teflon are retained.

Peter N
02-09-2008, 10:11 AM
Normal length of glass fibres used in polymer reinforcement is around 100-200 microns in length, around 0,004"-0.008", so you'd be hard pressed to actually find them.
Long fibre reinforced plastics like 'Verton' use fibres 1mm-2mm in length.

A good rule of thumb for checking if a plastic is fibre filled is to lightly scrape it with the edge of a sharp scalpel or craft knife, and listen to how it sounds. A fibre reinforced material will sound a bit 'scratchy'.


02-09-2008, 10:12 AM
A fibre reinforced material will sound a bit 'scratchy'.

Neat tip Peter -- thanks for that!