Hi guys. I usually don't resurrect old threads, but I believe this one was done an injustice. The original poster asks for help understanding the chemistry of oil polymerization, and he gets pointed to Sheryl Canter without a word? Sheryl Canter is not a chemist. In fact, she is exactly the reason people out there might be searching for such information, as her blog post started a big to-do about pot seasoning and yet is fairly lacking--and even inaccurate--in terms of real science.
I was hoping there might be some here who would care to discuss the actual chemistry behind this phenomenon. I would love to understand the specific qualities of oils that contribute to the effect (such as linoleic vs. linolenic acid, perhaps?), what the ideal temperatures are for polymerization, what different oil characteristics lead to a harder or softer polymer, etc. What role do carbon atoms play? Iodine? Saturation vs. unsaturation? Other factors? And the end polymer matrix is what substance, exactly?
These are just a few examples of the things the above blog post glosses over or leaves out entirely. At one point Ms. Canter even suggests you need temperatures of 900 to 950 deg F to burn off polymerized fats, which is just blatantly false. Therefore, any and all information from knowledgeable parties here would be very much appreciated.