Roy J. Plunkett
Born Jun 26 1910 - Died May 12 1994
Patent Number(s) 2,230,654
Chemist Roy J. Plunkett discovered tetrafluoroethylene resin while researching refrigerants at DuPont. Known by its trade name, Teflon, Plunkett's discovery was found to be extremely heat-tolerant and stick-resistant. After ten years of research, Teflon was introduced in 1949.
Teflon has become an important coating for everything from satellite components to cookware.
Born in New Carlisle, Ohio, Plunkett graduated from Manchester College in 1932 with a B.A. in chemistry. He received his master's in 1933 and his Ph.D. in 1936, both from Ohio State University. He has received honorary doctorates from Manchester College, Washington College, and Ohio State. Plunkett joined E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Company as a research chemist at the Jackson Laboratory in Deepwater, New Jersey in 1936, and less than two years later made his discovery of Teflon. In 1939 he became a chemical supervisor for the manufacture of tetraethyl lead at the Chambers Works at Deepwater, which was the largest DuPont plant in terms of employees and product volume and diversity at the time. He continued in administration at the Chambers Works until 1952. Later he directed operations in DuPont's Freon Products Division. He retired from DuPont in 1975. After his discovery of Teflon, Plunkett managed research, development, and production efforts that resulted in the creation of numerous new fluorochemical products and processes that have become widely used in the refrigeration, aerosol, electronic, plastics, and aerospace industries. Many are considered to be of critical importance to national defense.