Types of Nonstick Coatings

While there are numerous nonstick coating options on the market, knowing the different types of PTFE coatings available, including their typical uses, will help you choose the right technology for your specific application. Even if you aren't responsible for selecting a nonstick coating type for your use, simply knowing the basics about each coating will help you to better understand the properties and value of each option.

Nonstick coatings have different applications in a wide spectrum of industries. Some of those industries and applications include:

  • Food processing equipment and cookware
  • Tools surfaces, such as saws and cutting blades
  • Machinery parts that are in constant motion or in regular contact with contaminants that could affect performance 
  • Any use where a low coefficient of friction is required!

The most common nonstick coatings include:

  • Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE coatings), commonly known as Teflon®
  • Silicone coatings
  • Sol-gel coatings, better known as ceramic coatings

Major Nonstick Coating Technologies

Fluoropolymer Coatings

The major compound among the fluoropolymer resins is polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE). These plastic polymers are non-toxic, solid and are inherently nonstick. Fluoropolymer coatings have the ability to keep their nonstick characteristics for longer periods and, with advances in technology, have become far more resistant to wear over time.

Typical applications of PTFE coating services include:

  • Semiconductor manufacturing
  • Cookware and cooking utensils
  • Pharmaceutical and biopharma manufacturing
  • Cabling solutions

Silicone Coatings

Recent advances in technology made it possible to conveniently combine silicone with thermoplastics to lower the coefficient of friction. Silicone coatings are non-toxic and are often applied to metal surfaces. When compared to fluoropolymer coatings, silicone coatings are much more susceptible to wear and thus do not retain their nonstick properties for as long. The main advantage of silicone coatings over other coating types is its lower cost.

Silicone nonstick coatings are primarily used for bakeware and kitchen utensils. Some specific applications include:

  • Molds for chocolate, cookies, muffins, etc.
  • Steamers, poachers or egg boilers, pot holders, etc.
  • Reusable mats for baking sheets

Sol-Gel/Ceramic Coatings

Due to their hybrid nature, sol-gel coatings manage to combine the strength of silica with an extremely low coefficient of friction while avoiding the use of fluoropolymers. This type of coating is also commonly called a ceramic coating. These coatings are resistant to high temperatures, PFOA free, and available in a wide range of colors.

Some of the better-known industry applications of ceramic coatings include:

  • Oil and gas exploration
  • Steel manufacturing
  • Pump and fluid management
  • Cookware and home appliances

Note that these coatings, like silicones, have a shorter non-stick life than fluoropolymer coatings.