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How Non-stick Frying Pans Are Made

Spinning the pans helps coatings apply evenly and makes the process hypnotic

(Justin Paget/Corbis)
smithsonian.com

There’s something irresistible about learning exactly how objects are made — whether they are simple, everyday things like crayons, special-occasion treats like candy canes, or rare works of creativity like Queen’s "Bohemian Rhapsody" and giant animal sculptures. And now, from the Science Channel on Youtube.com (via Casey Chan at Sploid) here’s how non-stick frying pans are made:

First, a robotic ladle pours melted aluminum into a mold to create the pan’s base. Workers and machines cut off the excess metal to shape it further. A plasma flame melts three different powders onto the pan to give it a ceramic coating. 

Here, the video only alludes to the dozens of chemicals that go into the non-stick surface. That blend changes depending on the companies — this video was filmed in a Swiss Diamond factory in Switzerland. Typically, non-stick coatings contain some chemicals that might be dangerous, but likely not in harmful amounts, especially when they are used safely, reports Russ Parsons for The New York Times. And they are still the easiest way to cook eggs without sticking. 

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