Boiling water. Induction cooking. Product design. And how one company hopes to help us waste less energy.
Ah… the pleasures of a great cup of hot tea!
Chances are, you made that delicious cuppa with boiling water from a kettle. The kettle gives an even boil, which better dissolves and extracts the caffeine, color and flavor from the tea leaves (read all about this in the 1-Minute Marvel “The microwave was guil-tea of not being hot enough“).
And chances are, the boiling water was used for only one or two cups of tea. The rest of the boiling water was left to cool. Sustainability strategist Leyla Acaroglu has shared on TED that:
In the UK, 97 percent of households have an electric tea kettle, and 65 percent of tea drinkers admit to overfilling their kettles, boiling way more water than they need for a cuppa. One day of extra energy use from these kettles is enough to light all the streetlights in London for a night.
Inspired by these words, a pair of designers created their Miito prototype design, which recently won a James Dyson award. They hope to change the way we boil water, and thus waste less energy that way.
With their design, we take the exact amount of water needed, put it into the cup that we will be using, and place it on an induction base. A heating rod is then placed inside.
Their design ingeniously uses the same science as induction cooking. You can read all about the science of induction cooking in the 1-Minute Marvel “Saying goodbye to the old flame“. Here’s a simplified verison:
- An alternating current runs in the base
- This creates magnetic fields that induces currents in the rod
- A substantial amount of heat is generated as a result of these currents, which are called eddy currents (you can read all about eddy currents in the 1-Minute NomNom “Roller coaster cooking science (in-depth)“)
- These in turn heat and boil the water
The boiling water can be put directly in the ceramic or glass mug that we intend to drink from, because induction technology does not heat the ceramic or glass directly. For anything to be heated, it needs to be ferromagnetic, i.e. it can be magnetized, such as iron (read why in the 1-Minute Marvel “It’s iron, man!“). The heating rod in the prototype, for example, is made with iron.
The designers are now working on turning their prototype into an actual product. If they succeed, even the simple act of boiling water can help save the environment and the world! That would call for a celebration with a cuppa!
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