Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Induction cooker

I know I haven't posted in a week, but it's not because of drinking the water. So far, no problems have resulted from that decision.

I've bought an electric hot plate, so I can cook my food now. The hotel room I'm in has a kitchen, but no stove. Here's the cooker, cooking some pasta:



Yes, that means I can finally cook pasta.

It works by electromagnetic induction. Let this snapshot from the user's manual be the explanation:



Now, I have a degree in physics, but I must say I've never heard the expression "whorl electric current" before.

But the idea is simple, if a bit weird: They set up a fluctuating electric current in a coil in the unit. Fluctuating electric currents create fluctuating magnetic fields. Fluctuating magnetic fields create fluctuating electric fields nearby. These fluctuating electric fields in something that conducts electricity (like a steel pot) sets up a current in the pot. This, in turn, heats up the pot, allowing you to cook stuff.

Are you scared? I am. What, precisely, is preventing this electric field from setting up currents in me, for instance? Well, distance, of course, but that doesn't mean there's NOTHING that's happening to me. And those electric currents in the pot: I know they won't shock me, even if I stir using a metal spoon, but it does seem scary. Here's another point: you can apparently use a wide range of different kinds of pots, as long as they're metalic. Stainless steel is fine. Cast iron is fine. What I don't get is: fine, there's an electric current in the pot, and this generates heat, but doesn't that depend on the resistivity of the pot? Couldn't you end up with a pot that was too resistive or too conductive and end up with too much or not enough heat? Or that you might start "boiling off" electrons and sending beta rays everywhere? I'm kind of curious as to how they knew this would work on such a wide range of metals.


Anyway, here's the result:



I actually took these pictures a few days ago, but it's taken me a while to post them. Now I'm off to cook some hot dogs.

2 Comments:

At 11:09 AM, Anonymous Jon Weber said...

And just like that Iga Pasta is back on the menu! I'm surprised you have survived this long without your favorite food. Is that spaghetti sauce I see in the picture? And is that Italian pasta or Chinese? I'm just wondering as I know before you left you told me that, Iga Pasta, only had to be cheap pasta and sauce.

Aloha,

Jon

 
At 5:31 AM, Blogger Kevin Iga said...

It is Italian pasta and sauce, though a Chinese company for the pasta. There's now an extra condition: it has to be convenient to get home. Now that I don't have a car, I am limited to only buying groceries where a bus will take me pretty close to home. That means the most convenient location is a grocery store named Taste in a shopping center near here. And the cheapest Italian spaghetti is cheaper than the cheapest Asian noodle, as far as I can tell. I'll have to take notes and figure out the price per gram to be sure.

 

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