Where did it all begin?

Nonstick coatings hit the selling floors in the early 1960s.

The first nonsticks were made primarily of polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE). PTFE has the lowest coefficient of friction (CoF) of any known solid. In other words, the majority of materials (in this case foodstuffs) do not stick to it.

PTFE's low CoF "releases" the materials, making it easy to separate them from the coating. Therefore, on nonstick pans, most substances are easily removed from the surface.

Unfortunately, PTFE is also very soft and, if unprotected, wears quickly. While early nonsticks had good release, they were soft and wore out after little use. The result: nonstick-coated cookware earned the reputation of being "disposable".
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Surface Preparation

Chemical Cleaning /Acid Etching:

This method, also called "pickling," is a common shortcut that involves dipping parts into a solution of heated hydrochloric or sulfuric acid; however, this does not effectively clean corrosion from the porous folds and cavities of metal. There are two other problems:

  • Acid etching may cause hydrogen embrittlement (the loss of ductility in metal caused by the absorption of hydrogen gas).
  • The acid attacks the metal, leaving residues of "smut" that are deposits of carbon and metal oxide. "Smut" adheres loosely to the metal underneath, thereby reducing adhesion.

Whichever method is used, careful and complete preparation of the substrate is the best way to guarantee maximum results from a coating.

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