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The theme of this year’s National Chemistry Week is “Out of this world.” To celebrate, we’re honoring all the behind-the-scenes heroes of chemistry and science who make space travel possible.
We’re also celebrating a few other behind-the-scenes heroes—the Chemours products powered by chemistry that have helped make the space program what it is today.
While Teflon™ might be best known for its nonstick capabilities, it has a variety of space applications as well—most notably, in the robotic arms and electronic modules of the Mars rovers. Additionally, the iconic images from the surface of Mars, captured by the rovers, would not be possible without Teflon™ resins.
A half century before our exploration of the Red Planet, Teflon™ could also be found in the spacesuits of Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin, our first astronauts to walk on the Moon. For the early Apollo missions, Teflon™ comprised the outermost layer of the suit and efficiently protected it from micrometeoroids, which could puncture and depressurize it.
Thomas Joseph Kelly’s lunar module ensured our first astronauts safely landed on the Moon. Fifty years later, we’re using Teflon™ fluoroplastics to ensure we land safely on the Red Planet whenever that time comes.
Then there’s Krytox™. Whether used in a car cruising on I-80 or a rocket blasting into orbit, Krytox™ high-performance lubricants serve similar functions. When a rocket transitions from the warmth and pressure of Earth to the cold vacuum of space, the rocket motor must produce a colossal amount of energy. Krytox™ high-performance lubricants ensure our rockets are able to withstand the harsh conditions and hot temperatures when transitioning into space.
Spacesuits also utilize Krytox™ high-performance lubricants. Since temperatures can swing hundreds of degrees between sunlight and darkness, astronauts need a product that retains its lubricating properties through a wide temperature range (unlike traditional lubricants).
Meet Robert Goddard, the inventor of the first liquid-fueled rocket. Goddard’s first launch, on March 16, 1926, forever changed space flight and innovation. We use Krytox™ high-performance lubricants to make sure our rockets, machines, and mechanisms are performing at peak levels.
When Viton™ was developed in 1957, it was meant to meet the needs of the aerospace industry for a high-performing seal elastomer. Viton™ was specifically integral to the 1996 shuttle Atlantis. Needing an adhesive that could withstand temperatures exceeding 450°F, with bond strength and durability and a long shelf life, the Viton™ fluoroelastomer was the perfect solution due to its ability to exist in the most turbulent and unpredictable conditions without compromising quality.
You won’t find a person more dedicated to discovering if there’s life in space than Dr. Sara Seager. With Viton™ fluoroelastomers, we’re making sure our rockets and equipment on the ground are up for the harsh demands of space exploration.
Each of these products has contributed a small part to a large accomplishment thanks to their chemistry-powered performance. Enabling exploits is but one example of how chemistry is a living thing that has transformed our lives and improved the world. Chemistry and these products have taken us to the Moon. And, one day, it will take us to Mars.
We can’t wait to see where chemistry takes us next.
Celebrate National Chemistry Week by exploring one of Chemours’ signature products. See how Teflon™ coatings protect the things you use every day.
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This National Chemistry Week, learn how Krytox™ high-performance lubricants fuel your products to perfection.
Learn how >
This National Chemistry Week, take a deeper dive into how Viton™ fluoroelastomers help your products hit peak performance, even while withstanding harsh conditions.
Look closer >