Chemistry of Teflon Cookware -

Chemistry of Teflon Cookware

Chemistry of Teflon Cookware

In our day to day activity we are using lot varieties of cookware for preparing food and other purposes.


Did you know some of our cookware that are specially coated with chemical coating i.e., Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE), coating?

This chemical name makes you think a lot? Never heard of this chemical?

What is it?

Let me give you the common name of Polytetrafluoroethylene i.e., “Teflon”

In this article I will give some of its characteristics, chemical nature, advantages, disadvantages etc…

Teflon is generally used for non-stick cookware. The non-stick cookware coating allows food to brown without sticking to the pan and this feature all because of Teflon. There are many misconceptions about teflon. Although it is used on armor-piercing rounds, it does not provide any of the armor-piercing capabilities. Teflon is solid with an extremely low coefficient of friction. The teflon coating is also used only to protect the rifling of the gun's barrel.

The metallic substrate is roughened to promote adhesion, and layers of PTFE, from one to seven, are sprayed or rolled on, with a larger number of layers and spraying being better. The number and thickness of the layers and quality of the material determine the quality of the non-stick coating.

Chemical characteristics of Teflon/ Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE)

Polytetrafluoroethylene is a synthetic fluoropolymer of tetrafluoroethylene that has numerous applications. It is a fluorocarbon solid, as it is a high-molecular-weight compound consisting wholly of carbon and fluorine. PTFE is hydrophobic in nature. It maintains high strength, toughness and self-lubrication at low temperatures down to 5 K (-268.15 °C; -450.67 °F), and good flexibility at temperatures above 194 K (-79 °C; -110 °F). PTFE was accidentally discovered in 1938 by Roy Plunkett while he was working in New Jersey for DuPont.

PTFE is used as a non-stick coating for pans and other cookware. It is very non-reactive, partly because of the strength of carbon–fluorine bonds, and so it is often used in containers and pipework for reactive and corrosive chemicals. PTFE also acts as lubricant and reduces friction, wear and energy consumption of machinery. It is commonly used as a graft material in surgical interventions. PTFE is used for applications where sliding action of parts is needed: plain bearings, gears, slide plates, etc. In these applications, it performs significantly better than nylon and acetal.

PTFE film is also widely used in the production of carbon fiber composites as well as fiberglass composites, notably in the aerospace industry. PTFE film is used as a barrier between the carbon or fiberglass part being built, and breather and bagging materials used to incapsulate the bondment when debulking and when curing the composite, usually in an autoclave. PTFE tubes are used in gas-gas heat exchangers in gas cleaning of waste incinerators.

PTFE is widely used as a thread seal tape in plumbing applications, largely replacing paste thread dope. PTFE-coated filters are often used in dust collection systems to collect particulate matter from air streams in applications involving high temperatures and high particulate loads such as coal-fired power plants, cement production and steel foundries.

PTFE can also be used for dental fillings, to isolate the contacts of the anterior tooth so the filling materials will not stick to the adjacent tooth. PTFE sheets are used in the production of butane hash oil due to its non-stick properties and resistance to non-polar solvents.

Side effects of teflon

The fumes released from non-stick cookware have been known to be highly toxic to birds, as many pet birds die from ‘Teflon toxicosis’ each year. When humans are exposed to the fumes they can experience a condition known as ‘polymer fume fever’. This is characterized by flu-like symptoms, including headaches, chills, fever, and coughing and chest tightness.

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