One good question with two good answers: it sticks chemically and mechanically.

Chemically, because nonsticks have low surface energy (where the release comes from), so, when applied to the pan, they spread out quickly over the surface, achieving an intimate bond. In addition, elements called "binders" are added to coatings to promote chemical adhesion.

Mechanically, because the surface of the pan is generally roughened in one of several ways. This not only increases the surface area of the pan (more surface to stick to), but also creates "tooth" for the coating to grab hold of. Sticking on one side and not sticking on the other is no mean feat. But today's nonsticks do it very well.

 
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How does a nonstick stick to the pan?

One good question with two good answers: it sticks chemically and mechanically.

Chemically, because nonsticks have low surface energy (where the release comes from), so, when applied to the pan, they spread out quickly over the surface, achieving an intimate bond. In addition, elements called "binders" are added to coatings to promote chemical adhesion.

Mechanically, because the surface of the pan is generally roughened in one of several ways. This not only increases the surface area of the pan (more surface to stick to), but also creates "tooth" for the coating to grab hold of. Sticking on one side and not sticking on the other is no mean feat. But today's nonsticks do it very well.

 

 
 
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