"Nonstick" cookware has become the new benchmark for household cookware, and is recommended by even Chefs of some very reputable organizations for its versatility, ease of maintenance and excellent performance compared to other traditional forms of cookware.
Nonstick cookware have been hugely popular over the past few years, but they do receive a lot of criticism for their longevity, the quality of the materials used, and more. Let's try to unravel the mysteries behind this product and try to understand why it is one of the best cooking tools, although obviously it does have some flaws that should also be taken into consideration.
What is the nonstick coating made of?
Like most things with a high reputation, nonstick coatings were created by accident by a scientist named Roy Plunlkett, who was trying to find an experimental alternative to the common refrigerant Freon while working at DuPont Chemical. In one experiment, Plunkett attempted to freeze and compress a chemical gas called tetrafluoroethylene, only to find that it had turned into an extremely smooth and frictionless solid that was waxy and white in color.
Plunkett thought it could be used as a coating on metal surfaces, and DuPont patented the product, which they later referred to simply as polytetrafluoroethylene or PTFE, often known by its now well-known trade name "Teflon." Today, Teflon is one of the most widely known brands in cookware and is used as a surface coating on most nonstick cookware today, from pots, pans, skillets, waffle irons, woks, sauce pans and almost all other kinds of cookware. Today's most popular nonstick coatings are actually made up of five main components:
- Adhesives or resins act as glue and stick to the cookware surface and provide the coating material with cohesion and bonding quality.
- The most important ingredient - PTFE or silicone, basically the nonstick component.
- The carrier solvent in which the other materials are suspended to form a homogeneous mixture. This solvent usually evaporates when the coating is heated and cured.
- Coloring pigments, mostly black, but more and more nonstick coating colors are being used and experimented with nowadays.
- Some enhancers are also used to strengthen and make the coating durable to resist wear.
To Be Continued…