Polymer products are invaluable in the kitchen, helping us cook food and reduce waste. Their uses range from non-stick pans and stretchy film, to smart packaging and freshness indicators.
Food can stick to metal pans because protein-rich foods will bond to the base of the pan through metal complexes. Non-stick pans have a coating of poly(tetrafluoroethene) (PTFE), sometimes referred to by the tradename Teflon (Figure 1). PTFE is prepared from tetrafluoroethene by addition polymerisation using radical initiators (see CHEMISTRY REVIEW, Vol. 9, No. 3, p. 34 and Vol. 30, No. 2, pp. 22–25).
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