Weird induction phenomenon

saltimboccaFebruary 27, 2012

I recently switched from radiant to induction cooking, and am generally thrilled with the change. But I encountered a weird phenomenon and I'm wondering if someone here can explain it.

I got a lot of new cookware to work with induction, including a rather expensive Swiss Diamond induction ready non-stick 3-qt saute pan. The pan has a 7 1/2" flat (presumably ferrous) plate at the bottom, and widens to about 10" diameter at the top. It works fine on the medium and small size burners, but will not activate the largest burner, which is about 10 1/2" across.

At first I assumed that it was simply not large enough to trigger the magnetic sensor on that burner. But when I try even smaller pans on it, like a 6" bottom diameter stainless saucepan, or even a cheap 6" diameter non-stick frypan, the burner comes on without hesitation.

What is it about this Swiss Diamond that won't trigger the sensor? Low ferrous content? Bad design? It heats up beautifully on the smaller burners but I wanted to use it on the large one the other night and ended up having to play musical pots to get everything on a burner that would work.

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Check to see if the sides are also magnetic. I've heard that it's best if they are. It may also have to do with the shape getting larger at the top.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2012 at 1:39PM
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Check the magnetism of that Swiss Diamond pan; I'm guessing it feels somewhat less magnetic than the smaller pans that do work on your largest hob.

If that guess is right, then I think its the product of the pan's size relative to the size of the hob, times its magnetism (or "induction readiness"), that is relevant here. Your Swiss Diamond pan just may not be large enough to work on your large hob because its less induction ready than smaller pans that do work.

If its not less magnetic, I've got no clue...

But my ScanPan nonstick saucepan, 6.5" bottom diameter, works well on my largest hob. You can trade the Swiss guy for that.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2012 at 1:55PM
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The sides are not magnetic, though why that should matter is unclear. I have other pans that get larger at the top, including that stainless saucepan with the 6" bottom that does work. The Swiss doesn't seem to have as strong a magnetic pull as some, so that must be the source of the problem - quite disappointing for such an expensive pan (even though I got it at T.J. Maxx for 1/2 price).

I can still use the pan, I just have to remember to keep one of the other burners open for it. Mildly annoying as when I'm cooking with just two pans I prefer to work on the two front burners, one of which is the large one, and this is overall a fairly large pan.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2012 at 4:43PM
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Magnetic susceptibility is the key word here. One wants high magnetic susceptibility close to the hob surface for good heating using the induction field generated by the hob.

Hob "pan present" sensor location and sensitivity may affect what size and susceptibility will be sufficient for hob actuation. I support the conjecture that the errant pan has lower susceptibility than the other pans.

Side susceptibility should not matter, and in many induction ready pans is negligible.


    Bookmark   February 28, 2012 at 10:16AM
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