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Cookware: Non-Stick Coatings 101

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Shopping for new cookware in current times is a minefield. With constant development and upgrading of the types of non-stick coatings available to us. 

How do we know which is the best? And how do we know which one will suit the task at hand better than others? 

There are several types of non-stick coatings that are commonly used in cookware; ones you will have heard of, such as PTFE, silicone, ceramic, and enameled cast iron coatings, and some which are lesser-known; superhydrophobic, anodized aluminum, and seasoned cast iron. 

Here we’re going to help you to understand the types of coatings available on the market before you spend your hard-earned cash.

Different Types of Non-Stick Coatings For Cookware

Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) Coating

PTFE is probably the most common type of coating found on pans and ‘non-stick’ cookware, found in most kitchens both commercial and domestic.

PTFE Pan

Discovered in 1938, completely by accident, in its original form PTFE is slippery when handled which appears to make it a good choice. Best for cooking at low temperatures, and if looked after correctly, cookware with this type of coating could last 2-3 years.

Cookware with PTFE coating isn’t suitable for use with metal utensils, these can cause scratches on the surface of the nonstick coating which affects the reliability of the non-stick, and once scratches appear, it’s time to replace them.

Silicone Non-stick Coating

Another common coating found in a lot of kitchens is silicone. 

Silicon is extracted from Silica, which is a naturally occurring compound, to produce a flexible nonstick coating routinely used in cookware.

Silica is a mineral found in sand and when it is heated up to 1800˚C and mixed with other chemicals and water it creates the rubber silicone that you’re used to seeing.

Silica is a mineral found in sand

This type of silicone coating can withstand temperatures of up to 300 degrees, and this material does retain its heat well and also non-reactive to alkaline foods. 

Considering the high temperatures it can withstand, this coating isn’t 100% non-stick, it does need greasing before use so it’s best to know what you’re using it for and if it’s suitable before you buy.

Ceramic Coating (Sol-Gel)

Being introduced as an alternative to PTFE coatings, ceramic coatings became more popular in the 1960s.

Nowadays the ceramic coatings we see, widely available, are made from organic materials and are now free from toxic chemicals. This makes it an excellent choice for a non-stick coating as well as being eco-friendly.
making it eco-friendly.

Ceramic also, isn’t porous so won’t absorb flavours or colours from foodstuffs but are know for not being that durable, care needs to be taken when using cookware with this type of coating as it is easily scratched or rubbed off with washing. 

Enameled Cast Iron

Favoured by the more professional cook, this type of non stick coating is added to traditional, cast iron cookware. 

The enamel layer is made by adding powdered glass to the cooking surface of the cast iron cookware. This is then heated to a high temperature (in excess of 700 degrees) where the extreme temperature causes the powdered mixture to melt and adhere to the surface, resulting in a smooth, non-stick coating.

Enameled, nonstick coatings are considered safe and eco-friendly. The enamel prevents the cast iron underneath from leaching into the food and causing spoiling.

Due to the durability and high quality of the product, this type of cookware is expensive, hence it being favoured by professionals!

However, although they retain heat very well, getting this type of cookware up to a consistent temperature can sometimes prove difficult.

Superhydrophobic Coatings

Still in its development stages in regards to cookware, this type of nonstick coating is being described as the future of nonstick!

It provides a nanoscopic layer that is able to repel and resist water. Superhydrophobic coatings are currently used on car windscreens where they produce a very slippery coating that allows water to slide off a surface pretty easily.

As we speak, scientists are working out how to apply it to metal surfaces which would be innovative, to say the least.

Anodized Aluminum Coating

This type of non stick coated cookware is pretty common due to its affordable nature as aluminium is so readily available. 

The process of making the surface of the aluminium pan non-stick involves submerging the aluminium in acid and introducing electrical currents which result in oxidation. This reaction is what produces the hard-wearing non stick surface.

Due to the hardwearing nature of this coating, anodized aluminum is also used to protect satellites from harsh space environments.  

Its advised like a lot of coatings that using wooden or silicone kitchen utensils are best to avoid scratching or chipping away at the coating and damage being done. 

seasoned cast iron

Seasoned Cast Iron Coating

Cast iron pans need plenty of TLC in order to keep them in tip-top condition. One way to do this and ensure a nonstick coating remains is to regularly ‘season’ your pan.

Seasoning is done by heating oil into the pan repeatedly, which changes the surface into a smooth non-stick layer. 

Although proven to work well as a non-stick coating, this seasoning method is repeated with each use of the pan making this a time-consuming routine.

Re-Coat or Buy New?

Some non-stick coatings can be repaired or re-coated. If your bakeware or cookware is showing signs of damage such as peeling or scratches there are ways to save yourself some pennies by not instantly rushing out to replace it with new.

All of these non-stick coatings discussed have pros and cons. Each though must be taken care of in order to get the best use from them and keep them in the best condition which will prolong their life and save you money whether at home or in your business.

If you would like to know more about how Product Release could help your industry, please don’t hesitate to contact one of our experts, who can discuss your problem and recommend an innovative solution that will not only help you now but will minimise future damage or repairs, giving you peace of mind.

10:40 on 2021-03-19