What makes an induction cooktop different?
It sounds simple: induction stoves use induction heating. Basically, induction stoves use a magnetic field to heat only the magnetic item touching the burner; a traditional gas or electric stove uses heat transfer by getting very hot and then passing that heat into whatever sits on top of it. A gas or electric stove has no ability to differentiate between what it should be heating: the pot, the air, etc., while an induction stove only heats the magnetic bottom of the induction cookware.
The benefit of an induction stove is that it is is faster and more energy-efficient than a traditional electric cooking surface. Induction heating only heats the pot: it does not heat the air around the vessel, which wastes heat energy. Also, because the surface of the cook top is only heated from contact with the vessel, the possibility of burn injury is significantly less than with other methods. [Wikipedia]
HOW DOES IT WORK?
In an induction cooker, a coil of copper wire makes up the stove eye. The coil is mounted under the cooking surface, and a large alternating current is passed through it to create an oscillating magnetic field. When an electrically conductive pot is brought close to the cooking surface, the magnetic field induces an electrical current, called an “eddy current”, in the pot. The eddy current, flowing through the electrical resistance, produces heat; the pot gets hot and heats its contents by heat conduction.
The cooking surface is made of a glass-ceramic material which is a poor heat conductor, so only a little heat is lost through the bottom of the pot. In normal operation the cooking surface stays cool enough to touch without injury after the cooking vessel is removed.
THE BEST INDUCTION COOKWARE
Cookware must be magnetic in order to heat up on an induction stove. Cast iron pans will work on an induction cooking surface, and stainless steel pans will work if the base of the pan is a magnetic grade of stainless steel. If a magnet sticks well to the sole of the pan, it will work on an induction cooking surface.
However, neither cast iron nor stainless steel are considered the ideal induction cookware. For frying, a pan with a base that is a good heat conductor is needed to spread the heat quickly and evenly. Swiss Diamond’s patented nonstick coating is reinforced with real diamonds – a better heat conductor than any metal. In addition, the high thermal conductivity of aluminum makes the temperature uniform across the pan. Stainless frying pans with an aluminum base will not have the same temperature at their sides as an aluminum sided pan will have. Cast iron frying pans work well with induction cooking surfaces but the material is not as good a thermal conductor as aluminum.
When boiling water, the circulating water spreads the heat and prevents hot spots. For products such as sauces, it is important that the pan incorporates a good heat conducting material to spread the heat evenly. For delicate products such as thick sauces, a pan with aluminum throughout is better, since the heat flows up the sides through the aluminum, allowing the sauce to heat rapidly but evenly.
The only problem with cast aluminum is that it is not magnetic. Many companies counteract this problem by mounting a steel core in the cookware. Eventually, the core tends to work itself loose, causing the cookware to make a buzzing noise and possibly even jump on the stove as the magnet moves. Swiss Diamond has eliminated this unpleasant and potentially dangerous issue by infusing a steel coating onto the base of the cookware, making the infused steel and the body inseparable and buzzing sounds impossible.
To see Swiss Diamond’s full line of induction cookware, visit www.SwissDiamond.us.