The World Around Us

Chemicals in Our World

What causes nonstick pans to be nonadhesive?

Nonstick pans and other surfaces are coated with a polymer that does not interact strongly with other surfaces (hence, no sticking). Teflon®, developed by DuPont® in the 1940s, is most frequently used for this application. Teflon® is a polymer of tetrafluoroethylene, which is very hydrophobic, so water or any other substance (like food) doesn’t stick to it. More recently, other polymers have also been developed for this application. Thermolon® is a silicon oxide polymer with some similar properties to Teflon®, and EcoLon® is a nylon-based product that is reinforced with ceramics for toughness.


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