Responding to consumer health and environmental concerns

The cookware industry is responding to consumer health and environmental concerns by shifting away from PTFE-based coatings in non-stick cookware applications. Nouryon’s Levasil® colloidal silica has emerged as an indispensable solution in the realm of ceramic coatings, helping propel the industry towards a more sustainable and performance-driven future. Ceramic coatings that include Levasil® colloidal silica are helping revolutionize options for non-stick cookware by offering durability, improved safety, and better sustainability performance.

Role of Colloidal Silica in Ceramic Coatings

Levasil® colloidal silica is derived from two natural ingredients – sand and water – exhibiting exceptional versatility and serving a variety of end-markets. It is characterized by very small particles of amorphous silicon dioxide (SiO2) dispersed in water. Colloidal silica acts as a binder and collaborates with silane to form a composite structure, contributing to the robustness and resilience of the coatings. Its exceptional attributes have positioned it as a game-changer in ceramic coating applications, such as cookware.

In non-stick ceramic coatings for cookware, the inclusion of colloidal silica significantly strengthens and densifies the layer, providing it with the ability to withstand high temperatures, minimize porosity, and elevate resistance to abrasion, scratches, and corrosion.

Performance Evaluation - Passing the ‘Egg Test”

The "egg test" serves as a rigorous evaluation method for assessing the non-stick or release properties of cookware, providing valuable insights into the performance of coatings, including those incorporating Levasil® colloidal silica products. Following the French standard NF D21-511, this method intricately details the entire process, encompassing pan preparation, egg cooking, pan cleaning, and a comprehensive rating system.

By subjecting the cookware to the realistic scenario of frying many eggs, the test meticulously measures and quantifies the non-stick properties, offering a real-world simulation of the performance of ceramic coatings. This thorough evaluation provides crucial data on how well cookware, including those enhanced by Levasil® colloidal silica, resists sticking, demonstrating the practical prowess of these advanced coating solutions in everyday culinary applications. And the results of this test on ceramic coatings with Levasil® colloidal silica prove that the whole egg comes off with a spatula without leaving any residue.

Elevating coating hardness and durability

A notable aspect of Levasil® colloidal silica is its hardness and its ability to act as a three-dimensional cross-linker for the silanes in the sol-gel ceramic coating, hence boosting mechanical properties of such coatings. The inherently high number of hydroxyl surface groups of colloidal silica enables this enhancement. Additionally, the outstanding hardness of colloidal silica particles substantially elevates coating hardness, amplifying its durability.

Nouryon announced the completion a 50% site capacity expansion for Levasil®  colloidal silica at the Green Bay site in the US, followed by the inauguration in April 2024. Read more about Levasil® colloidal silica here.

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