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Jan 28, 2011 06:28 AM

Copper Core or copper band?

Does anyone really know how much copper is a Copper Core pan? The copper band around the bottom looks nice and all that but does it really go all the way up the side and across the bottom? And how thick is it? Does it perform like a real copper pan or is it a marketing ploy to jack the price up?

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  1. Chipped Ham, could you be more specific? Your question is akin to asking, does anyone know how much an executive is paid. Or, how long is a ship?

    It depends: which executive of what company? What ship? What copper core pan?

    1 Reply
    1. re: Politeness

      Well, how's this? "Does the copper in the All-Clad stainless steel Copper Core pan encompass the whole outside of the vessel? Is it 1.5mm, 2.0mm, or 2.5mm thick?"

    2. It does go all the way up. I checked out mine the other day and it looked like it could be 1mm.

      1 Reply
      1. re: cutipie721

        Hmmm. 1mm ain't much. The lightest Mauviel uses 1.5mm and the big boys (Falk, Bourgeat) use 2.5mm.

      2. CH: I don't know how thick the copper layer is in the AC Copper Core is. What I DO know is that many manufacturers will not tell you (or their retailers) this number. As your OP suggests, the thickness is important, and within limits (i.e., 3mm) the thicker the better. If the manufacturer won't tell you, or better yet show you cutaways so you can see for yourself, you should take that as a red flag. In today's world of 5- and 7-layer constructions, some of those layers are so thin they make no positive cooking difference at all, and so yes there is a marketing ploy at work to varying degrees.

        IMO, the AC will NOT perform like a straight-gauge copper or aluminum pan. It WILL perform better than a straight-gauge SS pan--but that isn't saying much. The fully clad "sandwich" pans almost always compromise performance in order to gain in non-cooking factors, such as convenience (can use DW), "durability" (can use metal utensils), and cost (SS is cheap).

        Let me give you an example. Last night I made potato leek soup in a 5Q, 3mm copper saucepan. The recipe has two simmer and one cooling stages. When bringing the soup up to the simmers, I could actually SEE the effects of heat conducted through the sidewalls in the turbid soup. This does not happen with any clad (or CI) pan I've cooked in.

        24 Replies
        1. re: kaleokahu

          It is good to find turgidity
          amidst all that turbidity
          as we measure by increments
          and by metallic elements
          the facility of walls
          that we've built, or, simply bought.

          1. re: FoodFuser

            FF: I liked my soup, but not THAT much. But I can understand why you acclaim my turgidity so highly with a mele ma'i. Flattered, really. Thanks.

            1. re: kaleokahu

              Not so much mele ma'i, nor a ball-scratching grunt of a gutteral.

              Same soup could be cooked in ground-sunk leather pouch
              with dropped-in fired rocks as the source of the heat.

              Those squatted fire-keepers, as they heated basalt,
              Thought less to their balls than their task to their rocks.

              They were not dummies,
              and found pleasure
              as cooks watched the bubbles of simmer
              that were in contact with face of dropped rocks.

                1. re: FoodFuser

                  WAITER! Bring me a glass of what FoodFuser is having.

                  1. re: Politeness

                    The bottle was labeled as "Atavistic Aquavit:".

                    Good simmers were had in the days before Copper.
                    Not quite sous vide, but simmer pits in the ground lined with hide.
                    It's an amazing exercise, if tried.
                    Put's one in touch with what they did with what they had.

            2. re: kaleokahu

              "It WILL perform better than a straight-gauge SS pan"

              It better. Why else would anyone pay that kind of money?

              1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                Chem: "Why else would anyone pay that kind of money?"

                Good question. Because they've been convinced by lots and lots of advertising that its WORTH X times more money because it has a thin layer of copper in it?

                The better question is why wouldn't anyone increase their performance by buying straight-gauge aluminum at a small fraction of the price?

                1. re: kaleokahu

                  Agreed that the issue here
                  is not just cognoscenti, nor Illuminati,

                  But, in the case of cast pans:

                2. re: Chemicalkinetics

                  Chemicalkinetics, I'm a newbie to chowhound (today) but was just reading your reply in a 10/2010 topic on 18/10 stainless flatware. Sorry for the off topic. I can continue the discussion over there, but the point I wanted to make, I was at Macy's today testing all the 18/10 stainless flatware with a kitchen magnet and the majority of the "18/10 stainless" was attracted to the weak magnet. Not just the knife blades (which I expected as they are generally 18/0 stainless) but the handles of the spoons, the tines on the forks and handles of the forks). These were the expensive ($55+) per 5 pc settings (Kate Spade, Waterford, Reed & Barton, Lenox). Surprisingly the 18/10 Oneida sets were barely attracted to the kitchen magnet by comparison. Do you think this is company wide fraud? My assumption is that these China and Korea made products are filled with 18/0 and covered with 18/10 exteriors (kind of like silverplated as compared to full sterling silver), or is there a scientific explanation for 18/10 to "go magnetic" during manufacture?

                  1. re: paly

                    Hmm, interesting. My refrigator magnet is not able to attach to my 18/10 flatware and I am sure you have also read online that 18/10 is nonmagnetic. I assume you didn't carry a huge magnetic to the store.

                    Yes, I have read that 18/10 can turn magnetic if it is hit by great force or twisted and turned. (not sure if it is true).

                    1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                      Correct, the magnet was not industrial strength. In fact, it is about the size of a dime, and it is glued to a small clay disk. Despite the clay's dead weight, I was able to invert the fork I attached this magnet to, and the magnet did not fall off (ex, 18/10 stainless Waterford Kilbarry and others).

                      Why this concerns me, I was hoping to have "safe" stainless steel flatware (nonmagnetic 18/10) for use around an induction cooktop. If these 18/10 pieces are attracted to a magnet, however, they may cause burns if and when someone leaves them on the induction cooktop near a boiling pot.

                      1. re: paly

                        "Despite the clay's dead weight, I was able to invert the fork I attached this magnet to, and the magnet did not fall off "

                        Ok, that is plain weird. I do have a set of so called 18/10 stainless steel measuring cups from AMCO and those are faintly magnetic. If I do move the magnet very slowly back and forth, then I can feel something. Their attraction is still far too weak to hold them together. You will need to contact the manufacturers to see if they have anything to say about this.

                        All I can say is that they should not be magnetic -- not the level of magnetic force you have described.

                        1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                          Thanks for your thoughts. I told the same thing to the three Macy's employees who gathered around me during my test of their 18/10 stainless display. They were all surprised by the magnet sticking to 18/10 and suggested I write to Macy's Headquarters myself, as they believe the customer has more impact.

                          Seems to me, however, that any one of those employees could go to their super-boss and do the magnet test I had just performed in front of them. The boss doesn't necessarily need to take my word for it!

                          But I plan to send a letter to Macy's and letters to all the manufacturers --save Oneida, as Oneida's 18/10 stainless flatware, while not completely free of magnetic attraction, comes closest to it.

                          1. re: paly

                            Yes, the employees could have gone to their supervisor, but you (as a customer) do have more impact. This is because when a customer brings it up, it becomes a customer service problem and it is of immediate concern. If an employee brings it up, it will be put on the backburner. It has nothing to do with trust. This is not just Macy's. This is pretty much true everywhere. I have an engineer told me to call his headquarter to push his upper management for certain requests.

                            Now, if you are news reporter, then you will have even more impact. :)

                            Yes, I have Oneida. Good luck.

                        2. re: paly

                          paly, you are either (1) overthinking or (2) underconsidering.

                          First, 18/10 refers only to the (approximate) percentages of nickel and chromium in a stainless alloy, but that does not mean that every 18/10 stainless alloy has identical composition. There are differences, and those account for the most or all of differences in magnetic attraction from one 18/10 to another 18/10.

                          Second, even if you had pure mild iron ferrous flatware, you are very, very unlikely to leave them sitting around on top of your cooktop or range. Flatware goes on the table, not on the range. I am pretty sure, moreover, that some of our steel spatulas/flippers, etc. -- implements that DO go on a range -- are made of magnetic materials, and it never has bothered us one whit, because we never have thought of putting spatulas on a burner when it was in operation; we never did that when we had gas, and we never did that when we had coil-top electric burners, either. On gas, they would have got very hot; on coil electric, they would have got very hot. On induction, it is unlikely that they would or could get hot, as explained more fully below.

                          Third, you notice that I wrote "on" a burner. The magnetic field of an induction inverter is highly concentrated in an area very close to the surface of the cooktop, and has a very limited lateral dispersion of the magnetic field -- unless there is a magnetic current through a large piece of iron that is mostly directly above the inverter. IIRC, even pacemakers are safe (according to the Swiss governmental agency that has looked into such matters) unless they are within 4 cm of an induction burner. (I could look up that reference if you wish, but that is the order of magnitude.)

                          Fourth, it is very, VERY unlikely that any piece -- or even multiple pieces -- of 18/10 stainless flatware would have sufficient magnetic mass to allow an induction burner to stay on. Every induction cooktop and range has circuits that shut off a burner when there is no pot on the burner.

                          In short, if you took an entire set of stainless flatware and piled it on top of an induction burner and turned the burner on -- which you never would do, other than as a scientific experiment -- it is highly unlikely that the burner would stay on for more than a few seconds before shutting down, and the flatware probably would not even get warm.

                          Sleep well tonight.

                          1. re: Politeness

                            18/0 stainless has magnetic attraction. 18/10 does not. Where do you get your information that 18/10 has magnetic attraction?

                            1. re: paly

                              paly: If you search, you'll find this same poster saying that ferromagnetic implements themselves get hot by induction, and that the metal doesn't even need to be in contact with the "burner" to do so.

                              There are several threads here about the mysteries of what SS alloys will and won't "work" on induction. I will be attacked for saying this, but the bottom line is that you won't know for sure until you've tried a specific thing on a specific induction appliance. For example, even Le Creuset cast iron is famous for not "working" on a certain brand. Electronics and detection circuitry=ghosts in the machine.

                              1. re: kaleokahu

                                "but the bottom line is that you won't know for sure until you've tried a specific thing on a specific induction appliance."


                                1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                  Politeness is correct that flatware should not be used on the cooktop, but you haven't seen how my family cooks! ;-)

                                  Fortunately our aging stainless flatware does not attract a magnet very much and so placing the spoon near a boiling pot has not caused problems of overheating the spoon. It is Oneida "S.S.S." which may stand for "satin stainless steel"--no markings to indicate grade of stainless.

                                  Yesterday morning I received the Waterford Kilbarry 18/10 stainlesss in the mail (noticing its attraction to a magnet prompted my visit to Macy's to see if I had been sold a 'bad batch' of 18/10 stainless). I did an experiment today:

                                  I placed a 2 quart All Clad pot with some water on the induction burner, and turned it on to high. I placed a room temperature Waterford Kilbarry teaspoon just to the right of the pot. I placed my old Oneida teaspoon (room temperature) just to the left of the pot. After 15 seconds the handles of both spoons became warm to touch. After 60 seconds, the Oneida teaspoon remained warm to touch, but the Waterford Kilbarry teaspoon handle was too hot to handle. This experiment was done on the 1.8 kilowatt 'burner,' the lowest powered burner. Using a higher powered burner would have sped up the heating process. Because of the extra mass to the Waterford Kilbarry spoon, the metal remained too hot to handle for about a minute, while the Oneida spoon cooled off within seconds.

                                  Pan recognition software prevented the unit from remaining on when just the spoons were on the induction top (i.e., when the pot was removed).

                                  As you are likely aware, 18/0 stainless (attracted to magnet) is less expensive than 18/10 stainless (not attracted to a magnet). Since my 18/10 purchase is acting like 18/0 I don't want to pay the premium. I am shipping back the Waterford Kilbarry "18/10" or whatever stainless tomorrow for a full refund.

                                  1. re: paly

                                    This is an great validation experiment. It is very neat to know that your Oneida heats up less than your Waterford. Thanks for sharing.

                                2. re: kaleokahu

                                  I read on that the Viking countertop units were not recognizing LeCreuset enamelled cast iron as induction compatible. Viking has since fixed this major problem. I have a refurbished Viking that works just fine with LeCreuset pans.

                                  1. re: paly

                                    paly: That is good news for both Viking and LC if the problem has been solved. Far fewer PO'd customers, for sure.

                                    I've spent some time looking at TheInductionSite, too. I have a hard time taking on faith the lavish, untempered praises of a seller whose success depends on his praises bringing him orders and money.

                                    1. re: kaleokahu

                                      kaleokahu: "I've spent some time looking at TheInductionSite, too. I have a hard time taking on faith the lavish, untempered praises of a seller whose success depends on his praises bringing him orders and money."

                                      Perhaps, then, you should read this recent thread where the posters are all users, not sellers.

                  2. In an All-Clad Copper Core pan, the copper layer is exposed at the top edge of the pan. You can measure it for yourself, if you have an actual pan available to you (local kitchen store).

                    All-Clad's construction method starts with a flat, laminated sheet of ss/al/cu/al/ss. So, when they form the pans/pots, the copper encases the entire item (sans riveted handle, of course).

                    The copper band is created by cutting away the two outermost layers (ss/al) to reveal the middle cu layer. It's purely a cosmetic addition that, IMO, detracts from the stated purpose/advantage of laminating dissimilar metals together in the first place. But hey, that's marketing for you....

                    No, it's not going to perform like a solid copper pan. Yes, it increases the price beyond its comparative (to solid cu) performance. I think it's slightly better in cooking performance than common "tri-ply" (ss/al/ss) pans, but not the 5x more I paid for mine. (I have both the 10" AC-CC & the 10" Calphalon Tri-Ply omelette pans.) Of course, I had other reasons (beyond a very simple price-vs-performance comparison) for buying my pans.

                    And, as kaleokahu pointed out, there are point-of-use differences that might swing one's purchase towards a laminated pan over a single material.

                    7 Replies
                    1. re: Eiron

                      Agreed, plus you have lost the convenience of putting what is otherwise a SS pan in the dishwasher.

                      1. re: RGC1982

                        I believe you can put it in the dishwasher but the copper line will tarnish. I don't think it will delaminate, however.

                        1. re: paly

                          At the prices you will pay for copper core, I would not want the copper band to tarnish. I am sure it will be fine, structurally, but why would you want to ruin its looks? It only takes a few minutes to hand wash a pot.

                          1. re: paly

                            paly, yes, you can put it in the dishwasher.

                            [All-Clad's words: "While we recommend hand washing, Copper-Core is dishwasher-safe. The copper band will tarnish with dishwasher use and will need polished with a commercial cleaner to restore its luster. If you choose to wash your Copper-Core in the dishwasher we recommend using detergents free of lemon and chlorine additives."]

                            I guess I'm not sure from where the question of delamination arose?

                            1. re: Eiron

                              "I guess I'm not sure from where the question of delamination arose?"

                              The internet is the only place where matter can appear from a vacuum and become reality.

                              Now to play the game replace three of the words with a four letter word and two five letter words and you have the non pollitically correct statement.

                              1. re: Eiron

                                Oh that was just me reinforcing the belief that the Copper-Core line is dishwasher safe. It would have been better to quote All-Clad as you did. It turns out, however, when RGC1982 wrote "plus you have lost the convenience of putting what is otherwise a SS pan in the dishwasher" that did not refer to concerns about 'dishwasher safe' but rather, as RGC1982 pointed out, to maintaining appearances.

                                Whereas the Masterchef/MC2 line is not listed as dishwasher safe. All-Clad is a bit vague about why. I assume it causes the outer aluminum layer to corrode, because there is aluminum cleaner to fix mere darkened spots.

                                1. re: paly

                                  I agree. It is the brushed aluminum on the exterior surface.