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Cast iron and polymerized coating

Page history last edited by Brian Rulifson 2 years, 6 months ago


Hey folks,


We create machines and batters that produce novel carbohydrate textures and products, and these damn carbohydrates like to stick to our cooking surfaces. We've tried a bunch of coatings, materials, and release agents. We have found that polymerizing canola oil (i.e. seasoning) on machined cast iron (HT250) produces the best results. But not super consistent.


Sometimes sticking happens unexpectedly, sometimes the coating gets thicker, and sometimes the coating gets eaten away in the absence of acid.


Does anybody know a contractible material scientist with experience in food safe polymerization on cast iron?







Ed Wood

No, don't know anyone but just curious- did you try any ceramic coatings? People do them for rims and other car parts, and you could go to one of these shops and have it done to a prototype part. The flip side is that there are many ceramic coatings done on cookware so there is a volume equivalent process, if needed. I'm guessing you looked at this already but just chiming in since it came up last year in a project. 



Great thoughts man, that's actually where we started. I love aluminums thermal properties and its density. We tried Thermolon (pure ceramic) and Greblon (PTFE / Ceramic hybrid); however, Thermolon failed in-machine cycle testing. Sticking got progressively worse and there were some impact issues.

Wish it did work, cuz my machine weighs 44lbs now due to the big ass cast iron molds I had to put on there. Let alone the 4-5x machining cost.
Appreciate you chiming in.




David Lehmann

Hi Brogan,

I'm not remotely a polymerized coating expert, but besides getting a design degree, I cooked for student houses at Stanford for over 4 years, did short-order & other cooking in restaurants, and have generally done a lot of cooking. I have also found that seasoned cast-iron or steel (not stainless) pans, griddles & flat-tops are the best for releasing things that might stick. I've generally been disappointed with "non-stick" pans, which can be great, but not always.


In my experience there are many factors that help avoid sticking. Like not washing pans with soap, re-seasoning from time to time, keeping a very very thin oil coat on pans. Also the thing being cooked matters. Do your carbo products have any fat in them? Can some oil/fat be used on the pan in cooking?

And temperature/time matters. Often hotter is better. With many foods, particularly protein-y things like meat, eggs, cheese, but also things like pancakes, they will stick until they cook to a point, and then release when a little crust has formed or some fat gets rendered out.

I don't know your experience with cooking, but it sounds like you are using fairly technical terms to describe pretty common kitchen processes.


Hope this may be helpful, and I'd be happy to discuss further.

 - David Lehmann '86  650-387-1954 Menlo Park 



Brian Rulifson


Maybe you get a copy of Bailey’s volume 2 and see who the authors are? 



Or call up Fereidoon and see if he can point you in a good direction?




Wow, what fantastic resources! We had no idea about Bailey's nor did we find anybody like Fereidoon- I guess we were sleeping! We have done a DOE with lots of coatings, lots of seasoning agents (including flax), lots of materials, etc. We also reached out to Lodge but they, reasonably so, were not very helpful.



One other thing that probably isn’t super relevant, but here goes:  back when I was doing a lot more work in metals processing facilities I had lunch with a sales guy who was talking about really hard coatings (TiCN?) being applied to the chromed rolls we were using to inspect on (linescan CCD inspecting steel sheet, in this case).  I know hard isn’t low friction, but the landscape there has surely matured, and might be more applicable.  Or maybe hard chrome with Teflon?  I don’t know.  Seems like you’re looking at food safe partially sacrificial coatings, which is probably inhibited by low friction substrates.


Vail doesn’t seem to be the right shop (https://vailrubber.com/services/hvof-thermal-spray) but maybe a breadcrumb?


And I don’t know much more about tungsten disulfide than this page, but it does sound interesting if you’re needing a metallic substrate.  Or maybe just interesting to me.



Interesting question, good luck.  And try to avoid Teflon if you can—just sayin’—as the stuff lasts forever.



Jacobi Grillo

I reached out to a coating expert I work with to see if they know any vendors or consultants and here's her response. Good luck!


Hi Jacobi, 

I know that some of our suppliers have BUs that are targeting food appliances. 

I would recommend reaching out to;  


# Keith from PPG: kcross@ppg.com


# Qian from Cashews; 



# Jacob- US Cashew rep and consultant for multiple coating companies. 



They will direct that friend to the right BU.  


I would start with Jacob, he is consultant that works with multiple companies so he will definitely have good direction.


I got an additional contact at ppg who specifically covers food related coatings department. I'll send an intro email. They seem eager to help. 


"Gibian, Jim" <JGibian@ppg.com>





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