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tefl9n is a non-stick coating that is used on many types of cookware. It is manufactured by Chemours, a spin-off company from DuPont.
It is also known by its trade name, PTFE (PolyTetraFluoroEthylene). This polymer is a fluoropolymer, which means that it has fluorine atoms instead of water atoms.
PTFE is a synthetic polymer that has excellent mechanical, thermal, and electrical properties. It is an important ingredient in a variety of products including wire coatings, low-friction coatings, bearings, chemical tank liners and cookware.
The PTFE chemical was first discovered by Roy Plunkett, a chemist at Kinetic Chemicals, in the 1930s. He was trying to develop a new refrigerant, when he accidently developed a white covering that was slippery and had a waxy feel. He subsequently filed a patent on the substance and trademarked it as 'Teflon' in 1945.
This substance has a very low coefficient of friction, meaning that it is extremely slipperiest. This is due to its extremely strong bonds between the carbon atoms and the fluorine atoms. These 'hide' the carbon atoms from other molecules, preventing them from reacting with the surface of teflon.
Because of these special properties, Teflon is very unreactive and is used in a number of industrial applications that require it to be completely non-reactive. It is also used to coat containers of chemicals as its reluctance to react with other substances makes it impossible for them to cause damage.
Unfortunately, teflon is manufactured using perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA). This chemical is one of thousands of chemicals called polyflouroalkyl substances (PFAS) that are considered harmful to human health if ingested or absorbed into the body. They can cause a range of adverse health effects, from headaches and chills to flu-like symptoms, including coughing and chest tightness.