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Engineer Talk

Scrambling an Egg

by Jared McPherson


At Tutco-Farnam Custom Products, we manufacture many different types of heating products.  These heaters are used in all sorts of applications.  One of our standard heaters is the Cool Touch 200 (CT200).  These Cool Touch heaters are part of the Heat Torch family, which are offered in a variety of diameters.  For example, the CT200 has a tube diameter of 2.0 inches.  This family of heaters is ideal for rapidly heating inline air, and the internal open coils provide efficient heat transfer through direct resistance coil contact with the airflow.  The Cool Touch option of the Heat Torch family is a highly efficient choice. They minimize heat loss resulting in a much cooler outer skin temperature which can keep the user safe and the product from being a hot surface. (Note: High skin temperatures can be present at the exhaust end of the heater.) What keeps the stainless steel shell of the heater so cool is what is called a triple pass arrangement.  The triple-pass arrangement first directs the input airflow along the inside diameter of the 2-inch tube. For the second pass, the flow then reverses direction back towards the inlet. Any heat escaping radially is reintroduced back into the airflow in these first two passes. After the input air has completed its first two passes, it is then forced directly over the resistance coils within the ceramic core, efficiently heating the air.  If you need a heater with rapid response and are in an environment where the outer surface of the heater cannot be too hot then the Cool Touch is what you’re looking for!

Now enough with all the technicalities of the Cool Touch heater, let’s see if we can lighten things up a little.  As mentioned previously, our heaters are used in many applications, but no one has ever asked us, “Can we scramble an egg with one of our heaters?”   I decided to investigate this myself to see what I could come up with.  The reasoning behind how I came up with the idea was that our heaters and the top of an electric stove have a lot of similarities.  Both contain resistive coils, which when supplied with a voltage dissipate energy in the form of heat.  The main difference between the two is that the Cool Touch heater will heat the pan via airflow (convection), whereas a range top heats the pan from direct contact with the element (conduction and radiation).  With this difference in mind, I figured I could more effectively scramble an egg much quicker because I wouldn’t have to wait and sit the pan on the element, but instead let the airflow bring the heat to the pan.  The optimal temperature to scramble an egg is about 300°F, which is the medium setting on an electric stove.  With this in mind, I decided to see if I could speed things up a little by increasing that temperature up to about 700°F.  To achieve this temperature I used one of our standalone controllers, the Control Cube, in combination with the Cool Touch heater.  Once I had my heater set-up, a pan, a can of pam, and an egg I was in business!

As you observed from the video the Cool Touch in combination with the Control Cube easily scrambled an egg in seconds.  Heating the pan using convection helped me achieve the goal of scrambling quicker than the conventional way of using a stovetop.  Once I had added a little salt and pepper those scrambled eggs were mighty delicious, Mmmm Good!

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