The Ultimate Nonstick Cookware Quiz

Staff

What were scientists looking for when they accidentally discovered the first nonstick coating?

Scientist Roy Plunkett was trying to create a gas for refrigeration, but instead found a slippery white substance known as polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE).

What is the relationship between PTFE and Teflon?

Teflon is simply a trademark -- and a more marketable name -- for the chemical PTFE.

Which company trademarked the Teflon brand name?

Scientist Roy Plunkett was working for a DuPont subsidiary, Kinetic Chemicals, when he stumbled onto his useful invention. The chemical was patented in 1941, and DuPont trademarked the chemical as Teflon in 1945.

How long did it take for Teflon-coated pots to come on the market after the chemical was patented?

French engineer Marc Gregoire started the Tefal Corporation in 1956 after he found a way to bond PTEE to cookware.

What type of atom is the key to PTFE's properties?

PTFE is a fluoropolymer, meaning it is a string of molecules that all contain fluorine atoms.

How does fluorine work on an atomic level to make PTFE into a nonstick substance?

PTFE is made of a string of carbon with a sheath of fluorine atoms around it. Since fluorine doesn't usually share its electrons, it is able to work well as a shield.

What are some reasons that nonstick polymers other than PTFE have also been developed?

PTFE is the first nonstick cookware coating to have been developed. Many newer, related polymers have improved on specific traits of PTFE.

What is a common industrial use for PTFE?

PTFE is used in making space suits, as well as for insulation for electrical wires.

What metal is most commonly used as the base for most nonstick cookware?

Stainless steel is also used for nonstick pots and pans, but aluminum is still the most common.

What is the key to getting a nonstick coating to stick to the pot itself?

By roughening the pot's surface, manufacturers make it easier for the coating to stick. They might use melted metal or chemicals to roughen it.

What is one method used to put the PTFE coating onto a nonstick pot's surface?

Once the surface of the pot has been roughened, the coating is sprayed or rolled on.

What is the final step in applying the nonstick coating to a pot?

Called "sintering," the baking process helps to cure the coating and dry it out.

Which of these affects how long your nonstick pot will last?

A few factors contribute to the lifespan of your nonstick cookware: the thickness of the metal, how many coats of polymer it gets, what specific polymer is used for the coating and how you clean the cookware.

How long are most nonstick coatings expected to last?

How you use and care for your pots affects how long the nonstick coating will last, but the average is three to five years.

Why should you not use a lot of cooking spray with a nonstick pan?

Nonstick sprays collect on a pan's surface and can eventually create an ineffective layer on top of the nonstick coating.

What temperature guideline is good to follow when cooking in a nonstick pan?

Heating a nonstick pan to a very high temperature can shorten its lifespan.

What made the Environmental Working Group try to get warning labels placed on PTFE-coated cookware in America?

A number of pet bird deaths due to cooking fumes, as well as a couple of minor illnesses in humans, led to the group's unsuccessful 2003 campaign.

What is recommended to avoid inhaling dangerous fumes while cooking with nonstick pans?

While the dangers of fumes from nonstick cookware has not been fully established, there is enough cause for concern that you should take some precautions.

What are the selling points of the new Thermolon nonstick coating?

By not using PTFE, Thermolon avoids many of the health concerns of coatings such as Teflon. It is also more eco-friendly since it takes less energy to manufacture it.

When did Thermolon and Ceramica nonstick cookware hit the U.S. market?

Both of these technologies are new attempts to improve the options for nonstick cookware. Only time will tell if they become more successful than PTFE coatings.

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About This Quiz

Nonstick cookware saves time and allows for healthier cooking. Test your knowledge of nonstick cookware with this quiz.

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