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Carbon-steel pan with aluminum disk?

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
Is there a pan made of a thin cast iron (or thin black steel) with a aluminum disk on the bottom?
I did not find one.
 
There are stainless steel pans with aluminum disks, so why not carbon steel pans with aluminum disks?
This would have the best of both worlds:
 * durable non-stick of seasoned cast iron
 * fast cool-down/heat-up of aluminum
 
I currently use an aluminum non-stick saute pan that is losing it non-stickyness.
However, I want to get away from non-stick, and am looking for a replacement.

 

Thank you.

post #2 of 13

I'm sort of confused by some of your wording but I'll get to that.

 

Carbon steel is a good even conductor of heat. Stainless steel is not and does so unevenly. So disk bottom pans or clad stainless pans use aluminum to overcome the flaws of stainless for heating and get the benefit of a non-reactive surface that generates good fond and cleans reasonably. Carbon steel would not benefit from an aluminum core.

 

Carbon steel is reactive and will give off flavors and colors to longer cooked acidic sauces and such as with tomatoes for example. 

 

Carbon steel patinates similar to cast iron but does not hold the patina nearly as well as cast iron. Cast iron does not heat evenly and is a poor conductor of heat. But it has  tremendous thermal mass so once it gets hot, it stays hot. The methods of manufacture between cast iron and clad or disk bottomed pans are incompatible. Cast iron is, well, cast in a melted form. Carbon steel and clad pans are rolled and stamped products. These steel products are much tougher than cast iron and can withtstand the impact bonding of a disk plate which would crack or break cast iron.  Clad pan are bonded  so they expand and contract evenly as they heat and cool. You just can't do that to cast iron or cast it around aluminum which would melt in that process in uncontrolled ways. 

 

Carbon steel and Cast iron cook well enough for their purposes that there is no benefit to trying to add aluminum to them. 

 

Carbon or cast iron are good pans to have, but they don't replace nonstick in every way. Non stick pans are inexpensive and can be recycled when they start to fail and replaced easily. Lower fat cooking or eggs and fish are still better in non-stick than carbon or cast iron. 

Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
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Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
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post #3 of 13

isn't carbon used in the new stainless steel induction ready pans, that's what makes them magnetic. funny watching QVC the said this new cast iron grill pan was lighter than regular cast iron pans, bull!  It still weight a ton but did work with my induction portable cooktop.

post #4 of 13

The primary difference between stainless steel and carbon steel is chromium. Chromium tends to accentuate magnetism. Both stainless and carbon steels contain carbon, because that is what makes steel--iron and carbon. Carbon usually between .5 and 1.5%, most often around 1%. Oddly, cast iron is about 4% carbon which is why it takes and holds a patina so well.

 

For the kitchen, you can also add Nickel to the Chromium. and that's where you get the 18/10 stainless steels used in cooking and flatware. Nickel tends to mess with the magnetic properties of steel. Cookware is often non-magnetic, but flatware usually is. And your stainless kitchen knives are magnetic, but that's not 18/10.  

 

Stainless steel can be and often is magnetic. My clad pans that are induction compatible have aluminum cores. They use a 300 series (usually nonmagnetic) stainless on the cooking surface--304 being the most common I think. A magnetic steel is used for the outer layer of the pan to give the needed magnetic compatibility. There may be some that use another steel layer in the sandwhich but I can't think of a specific brand that does so off hand. 

 

http://www.pencomsf.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/TB_MAG_SS.pdf

 

http://www.nealloys.com/300_series_alloy.php

Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
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Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
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post #5 of 13
Thread Starter 
Hi phatch,
I see what you mean about the cast iron cracking.  So aluminum on cast iron won't work.
 
How about an aluminum pan with a thin sheet of carbon steel, instead of Teflon?
That would be more durable than Teflon.
 
The thermal diffusivity of aluminum is 7 times greater than carbon steel.
So aluminum heats up noticeably faster than carbon steel.
 
Material               Thermal diffusivity
 Aluminum          100 * 10-6 m2/s
 Carbon Steel        14 * 10-6 m2/s
 Stainless Steel    4.3 * 10-6 m2/s
 
I cook acid foods in stainless.  But for eggs the choice is between carbon steel and Teflon.
I use gas stove, and fast heat up time is important to me, so I prefer aluminum pans.
post #6 of 13

While aluminum is technically faster, that's not why it's used in clad or disk bottomed pans. It's used to even out heat. 

 

All-Clad was the first to clad stainless and aluminum together. It's technical details make this difficult, largely owing to the dissimilar rates of expansion and contraction. The market isn't clamoring for the minor benefit aluminum might provide. You're on your own to get it done. Start a kickstarter. 

Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
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Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
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post #7 of 13
Thread Starter 

I see what you mean.  Steel pan only adds 1 minute of heat time compared to aluminum.
To put that in perspective, a steel pan on a gas stove is faster than aluminum pan on an electric stove.
I would pay extra money for one-minute shorter heat time, but I can see why most people would not.

post #8 of 13
Have you used carbon steel pans?
post #9 of 13
Thread Starter 

Hi Grande,

I have not used carbon steel pans.

How does the heat time compare to aluminum pans?

post #10 of 13
I find them far superior. I find it impossible to get aluminum pans really hot on crappy apt. electric stoves. Carbon steel gets hot FAST and stays hot. I can't get a good sear at home with anything else besides cast iron. On gas they're amazing
post #11 of 13
I should clarify that I keep nonstick pans foe eggs and don't use them for anything else
post #12 of 13
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Grande View Post

I find them far superior. I find it impossible to get aluminum pans really hot on crappy apt. electric stoves. Carbon steel gets hot FAST and stays hot. I can't get a good sear at home with anything else besides cast iron. On gas they're amazing

Interesting.

 

I had two aluminum pans, one had a black bottom, and the other had a silver bottom.

The black-bottom pan got hot faster, the difference was especially pronounced on electric burners.

Are the bottoms of your carbon-steel and aluminum pans the same color?

 

Cast iron is great for searing because of thermal mass, where as a steak will cool an aluminum pan before much searing occurs.

post #13 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by wolfv View Post

Interesting.

I had two aluminum pans, one had a black bottom, and the other had a silver bottom.
The black-bottom pan got hot faster, the difference was especially pronounced on electric burners.
Are the bottoms of your carbon-steel and aluminum pans the same color?

Cast iron is great for searing because of thermal mass, where as a steak will cool an aluminum pan before much searing occurs.

Exaxctly! The carbon steel retains heat better and bounces back quicker. I don't have any aluminum saute pans anymore. I have various sizes of cast iron and carbon steel and one copper with stainless.
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