If you own non-stick cookware, it's probably coated with Teflon, which, as you probably know already, is the material that makes it hard for food to stick. What you might not know is why it works so well.
Teflon, also known as polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE), is a polymer with a carbon chain in the centre and two fluorines that wrap around the outside. The carbon and fluorine have a strong bond that leads them to primarily stick to each other rather than other substances PTFE comes in contact with. It doesn't react with most other chemicals and has a low friction coefficient, which makes it ideal as a non-stick coating on cookware and other equipment.
PTFE is typically applied by roughing the equipment's surface with a sand or chemical blast, applying a primer, spraying on the PTFE and then heating it so everything solidifies. Once it's solid, it makes a smooth cooking surface that conducts heat, and is slick enough to resist sticking. For more on why it works so well as a cooking surface, check out the video above.
Why Doesn't Anything Stick to Teflon? [TED-Ed (YouTube)]