How a rocket scientist from Oxford University has reinvented the saucepan !
Telegraph - By Sarah Knapton, Science Correspondent
Dr Thomas Povey from Oxford University spent three years developing the new pan that channels heat from the bottom up the sides so that food is warmed much more quickly
Cooking might not be rocket science, but it has taken a rocket scientist from Oxford University to reinvent the humble saucepan.
Dr Thomas Povey, who usually works designing cooling systems for jet engines, has come up with a new pan which heats up more quickly, cooks food faster and uses 40 per cent less energy.
Dr Povey, who is a keen mountaineer, decided to tackle the problem after struggling to heat up water at altitude.
He realised that a large amount of energy is lost simply heating the pan, rather than boiling the water.
“The original idea was for the outdoor market - we wanted to improve efficiency for cooking outside,” said Dr Povey.
"But we realised it was problem that applies to the domestic market. So we worked from there."
The cast aluminium pans channels built into the side to allow heat from the bottom to travels up the sides so that food is warmed quickly from all the way around.
An equivalent pan of conventional design was shown to need 40 per cent more energy to heat up than the new ‘Flare Pan.’
"There's nothing wrong with (a usual saucepan), but it loses a lot of heat, which means it has less energy efficiency, which means it wastes more heat, energy, and gas,” said Dr Povey.
"For instance if you were boiling pasta you may think it takes a long while to get the water boiling, but you would see a significant time improvement with this new pan and it would cook quicker.
"We've done a number of test kitchens and the chefs seem to like it, mainly down to the even heat distribution. But that is down to the good casting of the pan, as well as the product."
The pans, which were launched yesterday, are sold through Lakeland.
Dr Povey specializes in the designing of cooling systems for parts of jet and rocket engines that reach very high temperatures.
He added: "The problem with the current shape of the pan means a lot of the heat is dissipated into the air.
"So, 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.
"So, it is a very similar problem but it certainly is a different product than what we're used to working on." .
Even before their official launch, Flare pans have already become an award winning product.
The Worshipful Company of Engineers, a Livery Company of the City of London operating under Royal Charter, has awarded Dr Povey their '2014 Hawley Award' for "the most outstanding Engineering Innovation that delivers demonstrable benefit to the environment."
Matthew Canwell, Lakeland's Buying Director added: "People are becoming more energy conscience. This pan is energy efficient, it cooks quicker, and it saves gas and energy. So it ticks all the boxes really."
“We're always looking for new innovations that will save our customers both time and money.”
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