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

High-Temperature Oxidation or Baking

At the very least this is a cleaning operation, but if properly done it can be a substrate pretreatment. It can be undertaken in production ovens prior to coating. This process has three advantages:

  • It drives oil out of powdered (sintered) metal parts, many of which tend to absorb oil that can seep out during cure and contaminate the coating. The parts should be baked at a temperature higher than the coating's cure temperature.
  • It can eliminate or reduce coating defects such as blisters, fisheyes, pin holes and streaks.
  • And, if the substrate is chemically or mechanically cleaned (activation) prior to baking (passivation), it forms a bonded oxide layer on stainless steel and some steel substrates that promotes coating adhesion and could eliminate the need for further pretreatments. (The part should reach at least 600-650F [315-345C] for proper formation of the oxide layer.)


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