Saying goodbye to the old flame.

Alternating current. Electromagnetic induction. Resistance. And the science of induction cooking.


induction cooking a lobster - no flame

1-Minute NomNom

A lot of cooking uses fire. Induction cooking, on the other hand, uses a new type of stove that does not use a flame. It can say goodbye to the old flame because of three science phenomena.induction cooking - alternating current, magnetic field

1) Firstly, an electric current produces a magnetic field around it. Under the induction stovetop is a copper coil. The electric current running through it switches direction rapidly and continuously. Such a current is called an alternating current (as opposed to direct current, which flows in one direction). It produces a magnetic field that also flip-flops, or turns 180 degrees and back again.

2) Secondly, induction cooking uses electromagnetic induction (now you know where the “induction” in induction cooking comes from!). When you put a conductor in a magnetic field that is changing, like the one above, an electric current is induced in it. Hence when we put a pot (or pan) onto the stovetop, an electric current is induced in the base of the pot.

induction cooking - resistance, induced current, vibration, conduction3) Next is resistance and heat. Because the magnetic field is changing so quickly, the electric current induced swirls around like a whirlpool, causing the molecules in the pot base to vibrate and generate heat. There is also resistance of the pot material to the rapidly changing magnetic field, and to the current flowing through it (like any electric current flowing through a material); these generate even more heat.

Preparation the fricassee and potato

People disagree on which of the above generates the most heat, but they all agree that a substantial amount of heat is produced. The food in the pot is thus cooked by conduction, i.e. heat transfer from the pot base into the contents of the pot, and other forms of heat transfer depending on what is in the pot.

One obvious benefit of induction cooking is there is no fire. Hence there are none of the usual hazards associated with cooking with fire. The cost of an induction stove is, however, still more expensive, but companies are working to bring the costs down.

No fire in induction cooking

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photos: in order – depositphotos/BalonciciZernLiewccat82djedzura

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