Optimized Induction Stove Design at Miele

Numerical simulation helps engineers to design safer and more efficient induction stoves

2 min read
Numerical Simulation

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Miele, a leading manufacturer of induction stoves, set out to combine the efficiency of induction stoves with a level of precision that would make the experience surpass cooking with a gas stove. Induction stoves, commonly used in the laboratory before their introduction as a home appliance, are inherently more efficient than either gas or traditional electric stove tops, as the pan itself is heated, rather than the atmosphere surrounding the pan. The unparalleled efficiency of induction stoves would easily make them the preferred stovetop for the kitchen.

Engineers at Mieletec FH Bielefeld, a joint research laboratory between Miele & Cie. KG and the Bielefeld University of Applied Sciences in Germany, used COMSOL Multiphysics® software to optimize their stove design based on the inductive heating effect. A pot or pan made of a conducting material is placed above copper coils such that the magnetic field produced by the coils induces a current within the pot or pan. The heating effect is due to Joule heating, or resistive heating throughout the pot or pan.

"Initial adjustments to the induction stove design were made by trial and error. However, building new prototypes for incremental gains to the system is costly. Simulation offers an alternative: Simulation allows you to extract data that you would never be able to get from an experiment, with simulation, you can get a better idea about what is going on inside a coil or pot, so that you know what it is you need to optimize.” says Christian Schroder, cofounder and scientific director of Mieletec

Schroder and his team used COMSOL Multiphysics® software to simulate the induction heating process to address challenges such as the noise emitted from the pots due to magnetostriction, to eliminating movement of the pot due to the external and eddy current magnetic field interacting. “We needed to know the size, shape, and what materials to use to make the coils”, says Schroder.

When it comes to comparing simulations with the physical prototype, one test Mieletec uses is cooking a pancake to assess even heating across the surface of a pan. “If the standard pancake comes out burnt in some places, and undercooked in others, then you know the stove isn’t heating effectively, you want the pancake to be one smooth color and evenly cooked”, Schroder explains.  The researchers at Mieletec FH Bielefeld were able to reduce the number of experiments needed to finalize their design by 80%, creating a stove with both the precision and responsiveness that chefs demand along with an efficiency that renders the induction stove good for the planet.

Learn More: http://comsol.com/c/3wv5

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