Rocket science comes to the kitchen in a saucepan with fins
Ronald Reagan may have told us all to Live Better Electrically, but a lot of people like gas stoves, with their fast response and quicker cooking. But not quite fast enough for some. Rocket scientist Thomas Povey of Oxford University, was frustrated at how long it took to boil water at high altitudes (he is a mountaineer as well). He noted that most of the heat was being wasted, going right round the pot and dissipated into thin air. He tells the Telegraph:
It is an aero-dynamic and heat transfer problem and we applied the science used in rocket and jet engines to create a shape of a pan that is more energy efficient... The original idea was for the outdoor market - we wanted to improve efficiency for cooking outside. But we realized it was problem that applies to the domestic market.
The fins increase the surface area of the exterior of the pot, conducting much more heat. It was important that it not look too weird (as some of the prototypes do) Cost also is an issue. Povey is quoted in Wired:
It’s, in a way, a more interesting design challenge. It’s got to have all the other functions that people expect, and the aesthetic, durability, and it has to be manufactured at a cost that people will tolerate.
It got picked up by British home shopping giant Lakeland, which sells it in frying pans and stockpot models as well. They claim that a conventional pan uses 40% more energy.
60% of Americans use electric ranges, which heat by direct conduction, so they will not see any benefits. But for those who cook with gas, it just got faster and cheaper.
Also in Fast Company, which wins the title prize with A Rocket Scientist Designed A Saucepan That Boils Water So Fast, You Can Watch It