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Induction Cooker

An induction cooker uses induction heating for cooking. Unlike other forms of cooking, heat is generated directly in the pot or pan (cooking vessel), as opposed to being generated in the stovetop by electrical coils or burning gas. To be used on an induction cooker, a cooking vessel must be made of a ferromagnetic metal.

In an induction hob (cooktop), a coil of copper wire is placed underneath the cooking pot. An alternating electric current flows through the coil, which produces an oscillating magnetic field. This field induces an electric current in the pot, which produces resistive heating proportional to the square of the current and to the electrical resistance of the vessel. Some additional heat is created by hysteresis losses in the pot due to its ferromagnetic nature, but this creates less than ten percent of the total heat generated.[1]

Induction cookers are faster and more energy-efficient than traditional electric hobs. They allow instant control of cooking energy similar to gas burners. Because induction heats the cooking vessel itself, the possibility of burn injury is significantly less than with other methods; the surface of the cook top is only heated from contact with the vessel. There are no flames or red-hot electric heating elements as found in traditional cooking equipment. The induction effect does not heat the air around the vessel, resulting in further energy efficiencies; some air is blown through the cooktop to cool the electronics, but this air emerges only a little warmer than ambient temperature.

The induced currents can heat any type of metal, but the increased permeability of an iron or steel pot makes the system practical by decreasing the skin depth of the current in the pot, which increases the AC resistance. [2] Practical induction cookers are designed for ferromagnetic pots; users are advised to use only pots on which a magnet will stick.

Since heat is being generated by an induced electric current, the unit can detect whether cookware is present (or whether its contents have boiled dry) by monitoring how much energy is being absorbed. That allows such functions as keeping a pot at minimal boil or automatically turning an element off when cookware is removed from it.

 

Benefits

Induction stove (side view)

This form of flameless cooking has certain advantages over conventional gas flame and electric cookers, as it provides rapid heating, improved thermal efficiency, and greater heat consistency, yet with precise control similar to gas.[3] In situations in which a hotplate would typically be dangerous or illegal, an induction plate is ideal, as it creates no heat itself.

The time to boil a certain amount of water is proportional to the power; a 3,600-watt induction element is three times as fast as a 1,200-watt element. The actual time depends upon the amount of water but it is typically a few minutes. Induction heating is much faster without water, e.g., for stir-frying — a thin pan containing three tablespoons of oil may heat up to stir-fry temperature in as little as ten seconds.

Induction cookers are safer to use than conventional cookers because there are no open flames and the element itself reaches only the temperature of the cooking vessel; only the pan generates heat. Induction cookers are easy to clean because the cooking surface is flat and smooth, even though it may have several heating zones. Since the cooking surface is not directly heated, spilled food does not burn on the surface.

Because the cook top is shallow compared to a gas-fired or electrical coil cooktop, wheelchair access can be improved (the user's legs can be below the counter height and the user's arms can reach over the top).[4]

A pot of boiling water atop newspaper on an induction cooktop
An induction cooktop boiling water through several thicknesses of newsprint. The paper is undamaged since heat is produced only in the bottom of the pot.


Limitations

Cookware must be compatible with induction heating; glass and ceramics are unusable, as are solid copper or solid aluminum cookware. Although special and costly hobs are available for use with round-bottom woks, with standard induction hobs, cookware must have a flat bottom since the magnetic field drops rapidly with distance from the surface. Induction rings are a metal plate that heat up a non-ferrous pot by contact, but these sacrifice much of the power and efficiency of direct use of induction in a compatible cooking vessel.

Manufacturers advise consumers that the glass ceramic top can be damaged by impact. Aluminum foil can melt onto the top and cause permanent damage or cracking of the top.

A small amount of noise is generated by an internal cooling fan. Audible noise may be produced by cookware exposed to high magnetic fields, especially at high power or if the cookware has loose parts. A very few persons may detect a whistle or whine sound from the cookware or from the power electronic devices. Some cooking techniques available when cooking over a flame are not applicable. Persons with implanted cardiac pacemakers or other electronic medical implants may be advised by their doctors to avoid proximity to induction cooktops and other sources of magnetic fields. 

 

Induction Cooker

An induction cooker uses induction heating for cooking. Unlike other forms of cooking, heat is generated directly in the pot or pan (cooking vessel), as opposed to being generated in the stovetop by electrical coils or burning gas. To be used on an induction cooker, a cooking vessel must be made of a ferromagnetic metal.

In an induction cooker, a coil of copper wire is placed underneath the cooking pot. An alternating electric current flows through the coil, which produces an oscillating magnetic field. This field induces an electric current in the pot. Current flowing in the metal pot produces resistive heatingwhich heats the food. While the current is large, it is produced by a low voltage.

An induction cooker is faster and more energy-efficient than a traditional electric hob. It allows instant control of cooking energy similar to gas burners. Because induction heats the cooking vessel itself, the possibility of burn injury is significantly less than with other methods; the surface of the cook top is only heated from contact with the vessel. There are no flames or red-hot electric heating elements as found in traditional cooking equipment. The induction effect does not heat the air around the vessel, resulting in further energy efficiencies; some air is blown through the cooktop to cool the electronics, but this air emerges only a little warmer than ambient temperature.

Induced current can heat any type of metal, but the magnetic properties of a steel vessel concentrates the induced current in a thin layer near the surface, which makes the heating effect stronger. In non-magnetic materials like aluminum, the magnetic field penetrates too far, and the induced current encounters little resistance in the metal. Practical induction cookers are designed for ferromagnetic pots that will stick to a magnet. [1]

Since heat is being generated by an induced electric current, the unit can detect whether cookware is present (or whether its contents have boiled dry) by monitoring how much power is being absorbed. That allows such functions as keeping a pot at minimal boil or automatically turning an element off when cookware is removed from it.


Ventilation slots visible. The unit has a small depth compared to the width of the stove
Benefits


This form of flameless cooking has certain advantages over conventional gas flame and electric cookers, as it provides rapid heating, improved thermal efficiency, and greater heat consistency, yet with precise control similar to gas.[2] In situations in which a hotplate would typically be dangerous or illegal, an induction plate is ideal, as it creates no heat itself.

The time to boil a certain amount of water is inversely proportional to the power; a 3,600-watt induction element is three times as fast as a 1,200-watt element. The actual time depends upon the amount of water but it is typically a few minutes. Heating is much faster without water, e.g., for stir frying — a thin pan containing three tablespoons of oil may heat up to stir-fry temperature in as little as ten seconds.

Induction cookers are safer to use than conventional cookers because there are no open flames. The surface below the cooking vessel is no hotter than the vessel; only the pan generates heat. Induction cookers are easy to clean because the cooking surface is flat and smooth, even though it may have several heating zones. Since the cooking surface is not directly heated, spilled food does not burn on the surface.

Because the cook top is shallow compared to a gas-fired or electrical coil cooktop, wheelchair access can be improved; the user's legs can be below the counter height and the user's arms can reach over the top.[3]

A pot of boiling water atop newspaper on an induction cooktop
An induction cooktop boiling water through several thicknesses of newsprint. The paper is undamaged since heat is produced only in the bottom of the pot.

Limitations

Cookware must be compatible with induction heating; glass and ceramics are unusable, as are solid copper or solid aluminum cookware. Although special and costly hobs are available for use with round-bottom woks, with standard induction hobs, cookware must have a flat bottom since the magnetic field drops rapidly with distance from the surface. Induction rings are a metal plate that heat up a non-ferrous pot by contact, but these sacrifice much of the power and efficiency of direct use of induction in a compatible cooking vessel.

Manufacturers advise consumers that the glass ceramic top can be damaged by impact. Aluminum foil can melt onto the top and cause permanent damage or cracking of the top.

A small amount of noise is generated by an internal cooling fan. Audible noise may be produced by cookware exposed to high magnetic fields, especially at high power or if the cookware has loose parts. A very few users may detect a whistle or whine sound from the cookware, or from the power electronic devices. Some cooking techniques available when cooking over a flame are not applicable. Persons with implanted cardiac pacemakers or other electronic medical implants may be advised by their doctors to avoid proximity to induction cooktops and other sources of magnetic fields.[3] Radio receivers near the unit may pick up some electromagnetic interference.

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