Cookware Materials And Heat Conductivity – What Should You Have?

Stainless steel cookware, aluminum cookware, cast aluminum cookware, glass, ceramic, there are many choices and each choice has very different coefficient of conductivity. The old idea that the best heat conductor is the best cooking utensil to use may not always be true in all cases. We will look at the most popular metals used and the different construction variations that should help you make better purchases.

The first data we will look at is the more popular materials used. We will also add a rating system on the ability of each material to conduct heat. Our rating system will be a scale from 0 to 10. The rating of 10 will be the best conductive material and a rating of 0 would be the worst. We will stay between the upper and lower scales. As we present this data remember the materials will also cool in relationship to how fast they heat.

The material list follows: Copper rating of 9, Aluminum and Cast Aluminum rating of 5, Cast Iron rating of 1.5, Stainless Steel and Steel rating of 1, Ceramic rating of 0.5 and Glass a rating of 0.25. By the ratings it is very easy to see that copper is the best conductive material listed, and glass is the least conductive. The one problem with copper utensils is that it is reactive to acidic foods. To mention all of the important materials used in cookware, the list should also include copper clad and multi-ply utensils. The reason these are not listed is the conductivity will vary depending on the thickness of the copper clad or plate and the number of plies or layers in the utensil and the materials used in the layers. The two best choices for good heat conductivity are the last two mentioned, copper clad or multiple layered bottoms. Most all of the layered cookware has at least one layer of copper for good heat conductivity.

To conclude the characteristics of quality cookware should be able to provide even distribution of heat. This can be achieved by material types, thickness and multiple ply construction. The cost of each manufacturing process will dictate the final cookware cost. Although copper cookware is the best heat conductor, copper also is the material that requires the most maintenance to remain with a great appearance. This would make the multi-layered bottom utensils best choice.


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