How does induction cooking work?

Induction cooking heats a cooking vessel by electrical induction, instead of by thermal conduction from a flame, or an electrical heating element. The cooking vessel must be made of or contain a ferromagnetic metal such as cast iron or stainless steel. Heat is coming from within the pan, making this method of cooking a lot more efficient. You therefore need to ensure that your pans are suitable to use on an induction hob. Copper or aluminium pans would not work unless they have additional layers added onto the bottom that are magnetic. The best way to check if your pans are viable is to see if a magnet will stick to the bottom of the pan!

An induction hob contains a coil of copper wire underneath the ceramic plate, and when a cooking pot is placed on top an alternating electric current is passed through it. The resulting oscillating magnetic field induces a magnetic flux, producing an eddy current in the ferrous pot, which acts like the secondary winding of a transformer. The eddy current flowing through the resistance of the pot heats it. To find out what an eddy current is, see below. Energy transfer with induction hobs is around 84 percent compared to around 74 percent for gas or ceramic electric so there are good energy savings. Safety is an important aspect too – there is no naked flame so fire is extremely unlikely.

A pan of water will boil in nearly half the time that it would on a normal gas hob. An induction hob will also ensure the longevity of your pans because they have more contact with the heat below, and the current is running all the way through the pan. This will stop your pan from developing hot spots which in turn, will burn or scorch food.

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