Teflon white tape experiment in alcohol

teflon_tape in alcohol becomes transparent.

Lately I’m being growing cells for my experiments. And for one of these, I needed to seal my apparatus for leakages. The first thing that came to my mind was using the standard white Teflon (PTFE) tape to wrap around the threads. But in order to use this, I first needed to sterilize the tape and soak it in 70% ethanol for 20 minutes.

Now, here’s where I noticed something strange. The tape becomes transparent on soaking in ethanol. And even stranger, it regains its normal white color in a couple of minutes after removing from ethanol.

I repeated this process a bunch of times and it is reproducible. And reversible every time.

Anyone know what’s going on here?

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One Response to “Teflon white tape experiment in alcohol”

  1. nick July 2, 2012 at 6:18 am #

    semicrystalline –> amorphous when you put it in a solvent? looks like certain types of teflon are semicrystalline and hence translucent to opaque, and others are essentially 95% clear when amorphous.