You’ve probably seen the infomercials for induction cookware with someone holding a pan that’s been cut in half for the demonstration. The advertiser stands there cooking bacon on the half-pan while holding their unprotected hand on the surface right next to it. If they were using a conventional stove, they would definitely burn their hand. So, how is this possible? Usually, we cook food using thermal conduction, which uses heat generated from a flame or electricity depending on what type of stove you have. Induction cooking, however, uses magnetism for faster and more energy efficient results.

How Does Magnetic Induction Work?

So, let’s say you’re boiling a pot of water using an induction cooker. Below the pot is coil of copper wire. When an alternating electric current passes through the coil it produces an oscillating magnetic field. This process induces magnetic flux, which repeatedly magnetises the pot. Magnetization of the pot generates heat because of the resistance of the pot. In order for this method to work the pot has to contain ferromagnetic material such as cast iron. If you put a magazine or a newspaper beneath the pot of boiling water like in the picture above, the paper will be unaffected while the water continues to boil. The paper is not composed of ferromagnetic metal so the currents that pass through it due to the magnetization have no effect on it. They can, however, still reach the pot in order to boil water.

Magnetic induction cooking is a process based on the electromagnetism of the Tesla Coil and is more energy efficient than thermal conduction. Because the induction process does not waste energy heating the air nearby, it is 84 percent efficient at energy transfer. Thermal conduction cooking has about 74 percent energy efficiency. Despite its effectiveness, many find induction cooking inconvenient because it does not work for all types of cookware. You have to use pots and pans containing ferromagnetic material for induction cooking to work. Would you try magnetic induction cooking instead of a gas or electric stove?


Image by Wtshymanski