Infused anodized cookware has been treated with polymers, acids and electrical chargers to create a surface that is almost completely non-porous.
Infused anodized cookware is aluminum pots and pans that have been treated with polymers, acids and electrical charges to create a surface that is almost completely non-porous. The advantage of infused anodized cookware is that food rarely sticks to the bottom of the pan and aluminum heats up very quickly. One potential downside is that while pans are very durable in most situations, they are vulnerable to some chemicals, acidic products, and high temperatures. The coating on infused anodized cookware is smooth and does not resemble more traditional non-stick coatings. Over time, due to normal wear and tear, the anodized surface of the pan will begin to separate from the base aluminum and eventually leave the pan uncoated, at which point most manufacturers recommend discarding the pan.
The process of anodizing aluminum involves exposing the aluminum to acids while an electrical current passes through the metal. The resulting reaction causes surface oxidation, which is the same process that creates rust in metal. The oxidized particles fill the pores of the metal and make the surface non-porous, which means that food is less likely to stick to it.
Creating anodized infused cookware follows almost the same process, but adds a patented technique that introduces polymers into the coating. Unlike a non-stick coating that is sprayed onto a pan, the polymers combine with the metal and oxidizing particles, infusing the polymers into the structure of the pan. Infused polymers are not simply a separate coating, therefore they create a more resilient surface than an applied non-stick coating.
While infused anodized cookware has good non-stick properties due to the way they are created, they also have some issues. One is that the polymer, like other nonstick polymers, will release a potentially toxic gas when heated to too high a temperature. Likewise, sharp utensils can puncture the surface and cause the polymers to be released, along with some of the anodized coating, into the air or food over time.
Two major restrictions that apply to infused anodized cookware have to do with chemicals and acidic foods. Some ingredients in certain dishwashing liquids will cause the polymers to break down, shortening the pot’s lifespan. Likewise, acidic chemicals, such as propellants found in some spray products, such as non-stick cooking sprays, also damage the surface of the pan. Foods like baking soda can have the same effect and should be avoided.
Overall, though, infused anodized cookware is resilient and withstands most physical damage very well. Many foods do not adhere to the surface while the coating is intact. While time will eventually wear down the surface of the pan, proper care can extend this time to several decades or more.