New ceramic can reduce cooking time, save energy: Indian-American expert

August 29th, 2008 - 2:56 pm ICT by IANS  

Washington, Aug 29 (IANS) New ceramic microwave dishes would cut down cooking time, use less energy and also help in organic waste remediation, according to Sridhar Komarneni, an Indian-American minerologist. Remediation is a process to reduce, isolate, or remove contamination from an environment.

“Currently, food heated in a microwave loses heat to the cold dish because the dishes are transparent to microwaves,” said Komarneni, distinguished professor of clay mineralogy, College of Agricultural Sciences at Penn State University. His findings were reported in a recent issue of the Chemistry of Materials journal.

Materials are transparent to microwaves because they do not interact with the molecules in standard tableware. With liquids like water, the microwaves cause the molecules to move back and forth creating heat.

Komarneni, working with Hiroaki Katsuki and Nobuaki Kamochi, Saga Ceramic Research Laboratory, Japan, developed a ceramic from fusion of petalite and magnetite that heats up in the microwave without causing equipment problems the way most metals do.

A rice cooker made of this material cooked the grain in half the time it normally takes in a non-heating microwave rice-cooker.

“Rice cooks very well with these dishes,” says Komarneni who is also a member of Penn State’s Materials Research Institute. “Dishes heated by themselves or with food could keep the food hot for up to 15 minutes. One might even cook a pizza on a plate and then deliver it hot.”

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