Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) or poly(tetrafluoroethylene) is popularly known as Teflon, was an accidental discovery by Dr. Roy Plunkett, while working at DuPont, USA. Roy was an American chemist with a PhD in Chemistry. While working on a project, one day Roy observed that the Tetrafluoroethylene (TFE) gas polymerized to a waxy solid with the help of the iron on the cylinder walls acting as a catalyst. And this new discovery had amazing properties. The properties are low surface tension, high heat resistance and resistance to corrosion.

So what comes to our minds while thinking of above properties is, cooking, right? If we can coat an iron skillet with Teflon, we can avail it for cooking. People across all continents use nonstick pans for everyday cooking. The nonstick Teflon coating is perfect for making pancakes, parathas, dosas, rotis and so much more.

Although Teflon has become a house hold name, it has many more industrial applications, as a lining of pipes, wiring of computers and for aerospace appliances. Teflon is a stable and safe compound but at temperature greater than 300 °C, it starts breaking down and releases gas.

Tips to safe cooking with Teflon:

  1. Do not Preheat a Teflon pan, do not pour oil on a Teflon Pan
  2. Do not cook on high heat as we learnt what happens to Teflon on high heat
  3. Ensure your Kitchen has enough ventilation, in case Teflon breaks and fumes start escaping
  4. Use wooden spoons and cutlery and do not scratch surface with metal spoons
  5. Hand wash the pans with mild soap and do not use coir and scratchy brushes
  6. Replace old cookware if it starts breaking up

We hope you will talk to the Chef at your home today about it, and believe you learned something new today. In the end, enjoy a small video that shows even a lizard cannot attach itself to Teflon.

YouTube Video Link: https://youtu.be/NKCSn3y-jIs

Contributed by Dr. Ramars Amanchy, CSIR-IICT

Picture Source: https://www.healthambition.com/teflon-dangers-nonstick-cookware-alternative/