A possible replacement for controversial non-stick coatings such as Teflon has been invented by a winner of this year’s Nobel Prize for Physics.
Working at Manchester University, Andre Geim and his team have created a material called fluorographene. It is a development of graphene, the thinnest and strongest form of carbon, and for the isolation of which Geim was awarded the top physics accolade.
Fluorographene is made by attaching fluorine atoms to the carbon atoms in graphene to create a non-stick-like material – dubbed “2D Teflon” by the Manchester researchers. However, it could be far stronger than traditional non-stick, it is chemically and thermally stable, and also transparent.
Many existing non-stick coatings are also coming under increasing attack for posing possible risks to health, including causing thyroid disease, cancer and birth defects, and raising cholesterol. Accusers say the danger comes from the chemical PFOA, used in the manufacturing process, but which is to be phased out by 2015.
Geim believes that fluorographene could provide an acceptable replacement for traditional non-stick, either on its own or combined with Teflon.
He told The Sunday Times: “Such a composite could be used to line kitchen equipment and for many other purposes, many of which we have yet to discover.”