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In theory a cheap pressed steel wok would work on an induction cooktop, but the "contact patch" for a traditional round bottomed wok would be so small it would be ineffective.

Has anyone seen a steel or cast-iron "wok adapter" with a flat bottom and a concave "bowl" on top to sit the wok in, serving dual purposes of supporting the wok on the stovetop and transferring the induction heat to the wok?

Could anyone speculate if this would this even work? Or wouldn't you be able to get the wok hot enough?

  • A professional induction wok cooking station is perhaps a useful point of reference. In this case the woks and induction cooker are hemispherical and matched to each other. While I've never seen inside one I assume the coils surround the wok as much as possible. Certainly that's how it looked during cooking. – Chris H Apr 17 '17 at 7:43
  • Follow-up question: How on earth does this work?! youtube.com/watch?v=n1bUnina0Zg – Robert Atkins Apr 24 '17 at 11:28
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I've never seen one of these and I don't think they would work. You could shape a piece of metal to fit the wok base and it would heat up, however you'd run into trouble with the heat transfer. Air is a lousy conductor of heat, you would need direct metal to metal contact - any imperfections in the shape of either the adapter or the wok would reduce heat transfer dramatically. Even a bit of dirt could make a big difference.

EDIT: responding to the comment about extending the induction effect

Electrical fields follow the inverse square law, so they weaken at a rate determined by the square of the distance from the source. The magnetic field will be significantly less the farther away the metal is, the field at 4cm will be 1/16th of the power then it would be at 1cm, which is why induction pans need as much contact as possible. If the metal of the ring were to extend the magnetic field to the parts of the wok out of contact then that field would not be able to heat it well. But the magnetic field isn't going to get extended as the energy is going to be absorbed by the contact ring.

  • That's kinda what I was thinking, but I wondered if the electrical contact between the "adapter" and the wok base would extend the induction effect into the wok itself. – Robert Atkins Apr 15 '17 at 21:33
  • I see your thinking, I'll edit with some details – GdD Apr 15 '17 at 21:34
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    The inverse square law applies in a vacuum (or air, close enough). Once you put metal in the way, you can't apply it anymore. "Extend the field" pretty much by definition means building something that makes it drop off more slowly, so if you were actually able to do that, then it would be able to heat it well. But you're of course right that a simple piece of metal is not going to do that. (Genuinely extending it in a meaningful way would probably require coils, so that the cooktop induces a current in them, and then they carry it to where you actually want the field.) – Cascabel Apr 15 '17 at 22:57
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    Also, at the risk of too much detail, the inverse square law is for electric fields of point charges. Induction cooktops have a spiral coil, so they're more like a bunch of concentric ring currents. The field on the axis of a circular current of radius r, at a distance z, is proportional to r^2/(z^2+r^2)^(3/2), probably a better approximation here. Still falls off very fast though - less quickly for z < r, but then roughly inverse cube for large distances. – Cascabel Apr 15 '17 at 23:11
  • @jefromi I've never been more proud to have voted for you than I am right now. – Sobachatina Apr 16 '17 at 4:41

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