Induction Cooktop

Ever since our earliest ancestors realized that meat was even tastier if you stuck it on the end of a stick and held it over an open flame for a short time, human beings have been searching for an inventing new ways to cook food. From the open flame to the coal stove to the electric range to crock pot to the microwave to the induction cooktop, as long as people love to fill their bellies with delicious food, they will continue to try and invent bigger, better and more innovative ways to cook that food to its full potential.

But recently, people are starting to become more and more aware of how their habits – including cooking habits – have harmed the earth. Burning wood to make a fire on a large scale kills trees and contributes to deforestation, lack of oxygen and global warming due to excess carbon. A coal stove uses coal which is extracted from the ground. Coal extraction is dangerous and dirty work, and burning coal emits noxious chemicals into the atmosphere, poisoning the air and contributing to negative natural phenomenon like acid rain. And electric stoves use electricity that is generated from energy sources including dirty coal or dangerous nuclear energy. What is a modern human to do if he or she simply wants a delicious home cooked meal?

Luckily, though, as human beings become more aware of their impact on the earth, they innovate. And one of these innovations, at least in the realm of cooking, is the induction cooktop. Induction cooktops cook food using a scientific method called induction heating. With an induction cooktop, a coil of cooper wire is placed on the stove beneath a cooking pot or pan. When an oscillating current is applied to the coil, an oscillating magnetic field is produced. The magnetic field is then free to create heat in two different ways. First, the induction cooktop “induces” an electrically conductive pot, producing something called joule heat. Next, it creates a phenomenon called magnetic hysteresis losses in what is called a ferromagnetic pot. (Ferromagnetic pots are made with iron, hence the Latin root “ferrum.”) For those of you who are counting, the oscillating current that produces the joule heat generally “wins” and produces the most heat. The magnetic hysteresis losses generally account for about 10% of the total heat generated.

As you may have noticed, unlike with what we think of as “regular” stoves (i.e. gas and electric), an induction cooktop requires a conductive pot in order to function. While this could prove to be very difficult if all of your posts were made with a nonconductive material such as glass or ceramic, such an eventuality is rarely the case. Induction cooktops can work with aluminum or copper pots, which are conductive and non-ferromagnetic, but they work best with pots that are ferromagnetic – i.e. iron or steel.

An induction cooktop operating with a ferromagnetic pot or pan is one of the quickest and most energy efficient stoves you can find on the market today. A good choice for people worried about a child’s or even their own safety, they are also safer than traditional cooktops. Induction cooktops are limited to getting only as hot as the pot, not the eye of the stove, reducing the temperature at which the stove heats too and thus decreasing the chance for severe burns. Of course, induction cooktops still heat food to a high temperature, so do not be fooled into thinking you can pick up a pot or pan with bare hands just because it was cooked on a relatively safer induction cooktop.

This Induction Cooktop Review is Written/Updated on Nov 13th, 2009 and filed under Kitchen Appliances. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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