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Old 10-19-2017, 01:19 PM   #1
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Thermal conductivity resource.

Here's a chart y'all might find helpful. I was surprised by the huge jump from cast iron to aluminum and again by the huge jump between aluminum and copper. Of course thermal conductivity in cookware isn't the only thing to consider. But it's not trivial, either.

Thermal Conductivity of common Materials and Gases

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Old 10-19-2017, 01:45 PM   #2
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Don't know if I'm reading this chart correctly, but it shows cast iron with a higher number than stainless steel. Doesn't make sense.
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Old 10-19-2017, 02:32 PM   #3
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The higher the number, the more conductive.
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Old 10-19-2017, 02:44 PM   #4
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Yes, I understand that.

Copper in the 400s
Aluminum in the 200s
Cast Iron 55
Stainless Steel 16

It's the last two that surprise me. I would have expected Stainless to have a higher TC than cast iron.
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Old 10-19-2017, 03:48 PM   #5
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Oh, I see. No, stainless steel is a very bad conductor. Copper, though, is amazing. Just slightly under silver and better than gold. But it's heavy. Julia Child probably got a good workout with her all-copper pans, lol.
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Old 10-19-2017, 03:56 PM   #6
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Considering all the discussions on cooking sites such as this one and others about how slow CI is to heat up, I find the numbers surprising. I don't think it's just a matter of thicker pan material.
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Old 10-19-2017, 04:10 PM   #7
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Me too. I thought cast iron would have a higher rating, for example.
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Old 10-19-2017, 04:14 PM   #8
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What I am thinking about right now is the clean-up. I.e. whether the non-stick quality of cast iron and carbon steel is owrth the extra maintenance. Jury is out.
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Old 10-19-2017, 07:15 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stock Pot View Post
Me too. I thought cast iron would have a higher rating, for example.
I thought SS would have a higher number than CI.
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Old 10-19-2017, 08:36 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andy M. View Post
I thought SS would have a higher number than CI.
(Note: I'm not sure if what I wrote below is the best presentation of my thoughts)

Conductivity and thermal mass shouldn't be mutually exclusive. CI has a lot of thermal mass, so it holds heat well. But it also conducts heat well. Thinner SS doesn't have much thermal mass, which allows good control of heat (you can raise it and lower it quicker), but that doesn't mean it is a good conductor.

BTW, there are different grades of SS, and I think they have different conductivity. I think.

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