A self‐consistent, one‐dimensional simulator for the physics and chemistry of radio frequency plasmas is developed and applied for CF4. The simulator consists of a fluid model for the discharge, a commercial Boltzmann code for calculations of electron energy distribution function (EEDF), a generalized plasma chemistry code, and an interface among the three models. Chemistry calculations are fed back into the physics model and the procedure is repeated until a self‐consistent solution is obtained. The CF4 discharge shows an electronegative behavior with ten times more negative ions than electrons even at low pressures of 100 mTorr. The EEDF high energy tail lies between the Maxwell and Druyvensteyn distribution. The chemistry model predicts densities of 3.5×1012 cm−3 for CF3, 3×1012 cm−3 for CF2, 2.5×1013 cm−3 for F, and 0.7×1012 cm−3 for CF, in agreement with experimental data from a Japanese group. CF and to a lesser extent CF2, are consumed at the surface, and CF, CF2, and F densities and profiles are sensitive to the sticking coefficient and residence time. CF2 and CF are produced mainly from the parent gas CF4 and not its fragments. Finally, the chemistry results are fed back into the physics model and influence the discharge structure, mainly by changing electron densities and the width of the inner core of the positive‐negative ion plasma. Thus, the importance of self‐consistent plasma calculations is demonstrated and justified. © 1995 American Institute of Physics.