Why are Teflon pans non-stick?

Why are Teflon pans non-stick?

If you put a steak in your grandmother's hot pan, it will stick pretty quickly. Once the water in it evaporates, the protein will stick to the metal.

Teflon pans, 100% non-stick

The polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) molecule that makes up Teflon - a registered trademark of the du Pont de Nemours company - is a synthetic fluoropolymer. If it has non-stick properties, it is because it does not react physically or chemically with food.

The physical protection is provided by the fluorine atoms surrounding the molecule, which naturally repel other molecules. PTFE's coefficient of friction is so low that it is difficult for other materials to bond to it.

From a chemical standpoint, Teflon is inert. The carbon-fluorine bonds in PTFE are particularly stable and extremely difficult to break. It is therefore just as difficult for food to stick to it.

Teflon, a dangerous material?

It has been rumored for many years that Teflon is carcinogenic. It is PFOA, a kind of industrial glue used to stick Teflon to the bottom of pans, which is dangerous when heated to more than 230°C. Fumes can then contaminate food.

The du Pont de Nemours company, which manufactures Teflon, has committed to reducing the use of PFOA by 95% since 2010 and even to eliminate it from the year 2015.

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