There have been a lot of technological advancements since the first non-stick pan appeared on the market in the 1960’s. Yet, in spite of improvements such as adding reinforcing agents to non-stick coatings, and then later the development of ceramic sol-gel coatings, currently there is no cookware that can provide for the modern-day consumer both good non-stick release and at the same time high durability.
One type of durable, superhydrophobic coating that does exist is found in nature, it appears on plant leaves, such as a lotus leaf, and some insect wings. On every Lotus leaf there is a epicuticular wax coating that slightly sticks out from its surface. It has a size of 5-15 micrometers and this type of wax is possible to see through the lens of a microscope. However, what gives the Lotus leaf its particular potent water-hating properties is a layer of crystal wax that is a about 1 micrometer in diameter, which is positioned on top of the epidermal cell.
It is this chemical and nano structure of the crystal wax which gives the lotus leaf its superhydrophobity. When water touches the surface of a lotus leaf, water droplets are formed because of the surface tension with the crystal wax. The area where water touches the crystal was is only 2-3% of the total area of the lotus leaf. If you tilt the leave’s surface, the rolling water droplets will adsorb the dirt and they will roll out of the leave’s surface together, hence it will be clean.
For Lotus Rock, instead of using fluorine atoms to produce a hydrophobic coating for cookware, like most coating manufacturers do today such as Teflon, the top layer of Lotus Rock is a silicon oxide crystal coating. It produces the same water-repellent function as the Lotus leaf but without any fluoropolymers. The silicon oxide crystal coating copies the crystal structure of a real lotus leaf by using silica as the hydrophobic material. Just like with a lotus leaf, when water comes to touch the silicon oxide crystal surface, it will form water droplets because of surface tension. The nano-structure of the silicon oxide crystal improves the hydrophobic tendency because water touches only a small area of the coating surface, just like it does with the wax crystal on a Lotus leaf. In addition, the silicon oxide crystal coating also makes the dirt’s adhesion to lotus rock’s surface weaker, further improving the non-stick effect.
To further improve the non-stick quality of the Lotus Rock surface the silicon-oxide crystal coating is also lipophilic = fat loving. For more information about this, please read here.