What is Teflon: The Cold, Hard Facts

Have you ever wondered what material is used for air crafts? If yes, then the answer to your question is Teflon. 

Teflon is a product that has not only been used in the aircraft industry but is used in various industries, including kitchen utensils. This particular type of plastic can is very useful.

Pan, Cook, Sear, Frying Pan, Pan

This live-saving product has endless uses which you may see around in your everyday life.

This article will explore what is Teflon, what are its benefits, and where is it commonly used!

Table of Contents

What Is Teflon?

Teflon is actually the brand name for a product. The actual name for this particular product is PTFE, which stands for polytetrafluorethylene.

PTFE was discovered in 1938 by a chemist called Roy J. Plunkett. PTFE was given the brand name Teflon by the company called “Kinetic Chemicals” in 1945. Teflon is now the trademarked name for PTFE.

Teflon is a type of plastic that is used to coat various products and equipment. Once a product has been coated with Teflon, it becomes non-reactive, non-stick, waterproof, and protects from harm against corrosive chemicals.

Made up of synthetic polymer, PTFE is extremely durable and flexible. It has two fluorine atoms bonded to each carbon atom and there is a chain of carbon atoms in PTFE. This chain results in a dense polymer with strongly bonded atoms.

We will now explore the benefits of Teflon and the reason why it is used in so many industries.

Teflon Properties

Known for its numerous application, Teflon comes with many different properties that include the following:

Temperature Resistant

Teflon can work well with a wide range of temperatures. It works well within the range of -270 degrees Celsius till 315 Celsius. You can even take it to high heat, but the Teflon would wear out much quicker.

Since it can withstand high temperatures, the product is ideally used for both, home and industrial cooking. Its high melting point enables it to work at higher temperatures.

At the same time, its ability to remain functional at low temperatures prevents ice formation. It also helps prevent your pan from cracking.

Inertness

Teflon is usually used to coat different products that help prevent products against toxic chemicals. Since Teflon is chemical resistant and inert, the products are non-corrosive and can last for a long time.

Due to its non-reactivity to most chemicals, most of its products remain safe from any kind of harm. Because of this, Teflon is used for water pipes as well.

Non-Stick

Teflon also comes with non-stick properties which makes it maintainable. Non-stick coating allows for easy maintenance of your products.

Kitchen Utensils, Ladle, Spatula

One might even say that the non-stick pans clean themselves as most liquids, including water roll off very easily. Teflon pans require no scrubbing, allowing you to save your time, money, and energy.

Resistant to Water

Its water-resistant property ensures that the surface of the products does not become saturated.

Rusting and corrosion are also prevented due to PTFE’s water-resistant abilities.

Low Friction

The non-stick coatings reduce friction and help your products slide smoothly. This makes it easier for moving or removing your products from the surface.

Meat, Kebab, Pan, Fry, Eat Healthy, Meat

Due to its waxy material, Teflon has a low coefficient of friction which makes it very smooth for multiple uses.

High Insulation

Teflon also has a high insulation strength which makes it non-conductive. This makes the material to be widely used as an electrical non-conductor. The non-conductive nature of the material helps prevent electricity breakdowns.

High Durability

If there is a product that long-lasting and durable, it is Teflon.

Durable against all kinds of materials, Teflon can not be affected by any kind of environmental harm.

This helps you remain stress-free about any kind of cracking, crazing, or deformation. Even with continuous use, Teflon maintains its strength for a long time.

With its high durability, you can save money.

Uses of Teflon

Teflon has several uses. We are only listing a few of them below:

Non-stick Cookware

With its non-stick properties, Teflon is used to make the surface for cooking pans. This helps with low friction while cooking.

Pan, Teflon

The non-stick nature also prevents any cooking oils to accumulate on the surface, making it easier to clean.

Beauty Products

The synthetic polymer also makes for great nail polish, providing a smooth and crack-free surface.

Not only this but Teflon is also used for hair styling. It is used to manufacture different straighteners and curling rods. There are several more applications of the product in the beauty industry.

Protection and Coating

Teflon can also be used to coat several products for water or stain resistance.

For example, if you own stain-resistant carpets, then it has been coated with PTFE. Similarly, your waterproof jacket has also been coated with PTFE materials. The shiny paint on your car may also contain trace amounts of the material.

Solar Panels are also coated with PTFE to ensure that rain washed the dust away easily. Teflon products also ensure a non-abrasive connection.

Apart from being used in several products, PTFE can also be used to coat pretty much anything. The coating is done without damaging the shape or the integrity of a product.

PTFE is used for dental fillings and helps prevent them from sticking to adjacent teeth. The coating also prevents any solid food particles from sticking to your teeth.

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Various surfaces can also be coated to prevent corrosion. PTFE coating is used on pipes, preventing rusting and damage. The coat also refuses friction and makes for an excellent lubricant for oil pipes or containers.

Not only this but the coating is used for insulation of various surfaces.

Disadvantages of Using Teflon

While the product has several benefits and uses, it also comes with some disadvantages. These include:

Price

This synthetic polymer is not a low-cost one. Products with Teflon are usually high in price. This is because PTFE is not easy to mass-product.

Low Melting Point

PTFE has a low melting point which is why it can not withstand too much heat. Teflon can also change shape under pressure. Depending on its application, this can be counted as a disadvantage.

When overheated, it can release mildly toxic fumes that can be damaging to human health. However, the risk can always be minimized.

Tips to Minimize Your Risk When Cooking

If you use non-stick cookware like Teflon, then you should follow the following tips:

  • Avoid pre-heating an empty pan: An empty PTFE pans can get heated instantly, making it easier for the polymer fumes to release. Always make sure that you fill the pan before putting it on heat.
Man & Woman, Man & Woman in the kitchen, cooking in the kitchen
  • Avoid high heat: If you cook on high heat, then there are high chances for harmful fumes to release.
  • Proper Ventilation: While cooking, ensure that your room is properly ventilated with the exhaust or open windows.
  • Prefer hand washing: Avoid dishwashers. Instead, hand washes your cookware with mild soap.
  • Timely Replacements: When the PTFE coat starts to come off, replace it as soon as possible.

 

Should I Invest in Teflon?

No matter what industry you are a part of, Teflon is an amazing product to have. With its several useful properties, the product remains practical and advantageous.

The benefits of the product outweigh any negative that it may have, making the investment worthwhile.

Hopefully, this article helps you make an informed decision while buying any Teflon product.

Colin Matthews

Colin is a passionate chef by trade and a kitchen nerd on the side. Growing up in the kitchen, Colin has always had a passion for learning the absolute best way to cook a dish. He quickly realized most kitchens have duplicate cookware and small appliances and had to decide which ones were going to be the “keepers” – causing him to take a closer look at all his products.

As it turns out, small differences make a big impact on the experience. Whether it’s how hard you have to press a microwave button, to how long a cast iron skillet stays warm after you turn off the heat, these little difference changed everything.