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Feb 14, 2013 07:34 PM

Solid cast iron?

First post here or ever. I have been using bare cast iron whatever since I was 15 yo in my mom's kitchen. I thought I knew enough but the other day I read about differences in cast iron, being non solid or something. I have really searched high and low for a site that explains if there is such a thing like non solid or solid CI. Can anyone help me? Thanks

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  1. That's news to me. It would help if you would identify your source.

    1. I have seen some old cast iron stuff that had wooden handles. Is this what you mean?

      1. That is the thing, the post I read it on a cooking blog, TheKitchn, but it didn't specify either what solid or non solid it meant. I couldn't get an idea about what the question was about. Maybe about the melting process? Or maybe about being aluminum pieces with cast iron coating something? Have you heard about that.

        1. Probably means there are bubbles/air gaps inside the cast iron.

          4 Replies
          1. re: Chemicalkinetics

            I would think that would explode, if there were air inside, when it's heated. I wonder if they meant bare cast iron and refered to that as solid, meaning no enameled coating? Therefore, solid cast iron, nothing else, just cast iron?

            1. re: mikie

              I know it is pretty common for die casting aluminum to have "holes" or "pores", and I think it is true for cast iron as well. This is not the kind of pores which people here talk about pores opening for seasoning. That kind of pores, I don't think exist, and even if they exist, they don't open and close for seasoning. Anyway, back to the kind of pores I am thinking about:

              "Quantitative Evaluation of Porosity in Aluminum Die Castings
              by Fractal Analysis of Perimeter"

              "In the die-casting process, the formation of pores in components is unavoidable. This porosity has a harmful effect on the strength and
              pressure tightness of die castings. To eliminate the porosity in components, its predominant cause has to be identified as being due to either
              shrinkage or gas. In practice, however, it is frequently difficult to tell the difference between porosity due to shrinkage and that due to gas from
              observing die castings. Accurate identification enables die casters to take corrective action. To identify the porosity accurately and to take
              corrective action in the die-casting process, the quantitative estimation of the morphology of pores such as their shape or spatial distribution can
              be a source of useful information. In this study, two types of fractal analyses are proposed to characterize the porosity in terms of the shape of
              individual pores and the spatial distribution of multiple pores. It is shown that these are indicators of whether the predominant cause of the
              porosity is shrinkage or gas. These parameters are expected to indicate the action that should be taken to manufacture pore-free die


              What you said about solid cast iron also makes sense. In fact, it probably makes more sense. I just don't see how a typical kitchen cookware article talks about porosity in cast iron. That seems a bit involved.

              1. re: Chemicalkinetics


                We get porosity in plastic parts all the time, but as long as they are small, the thermal expansion of the gas in the pores is small enough that the pressure doesn't exceed the strength of the material, and all is ok. Fact is we consider these parts to be solid. If on the otherhand, the porosity is quite large, large enogh to not be considered solid, there is a good chance that the thermal expansion of the gas when it's heated will in fact, cause a piece to pop out of the molded part.

                I think you are right, the whole discussion is beyond a typical kitchen cookware article.

                1. re: mikie

                  Thanks a lot. I was thinking my guess was way off base because I initially thought it was regular "what's the best for..question" but then the possibilities about what it meant where just about that. Anyway in my limited knowledge cast iron with some other components in the alloy is inevitable and does not diminish the quality nor posts health risks of any kind. Re-reading my post I got that you couldn't get how much time I've been using cast iron, but in a ball park estimate it's about 20 years straight.
                  So, thanks a lot, guess the question is answered.

          2. OP, if this is the article you're referring to, I think the person just wants a pan that's solid cast iron vs. a pan that's made of several metals including cast iron.


            Not sure if the person is mostly concerned about pans formed from a cast iron substance that has other metals thrown in (which I didn't know existed), cast iron pans with non-cast iron parts like handles, or cast iron pans lined with another metal, But it doesn't sound like s/he was talking about cast iron with bubbles vs not, based on the way the question was worded.

            3 Replies
            1. re: iyc_nyc

              This is a perfect example of how absolute crap gets propagated on the Interwebs.

              1. re: iyc_nyc

                <cast iron pans with non-cast iron parts like handles, or cast iron pans lined with another metal>

                I guess everyone can come up with their own definitions. It is important to clarify what one is talking about. For the original poster, this is a wild goose chase as there is not a clear definition of "solid cast iron vs non-solid cast iron" Do you have another question?

                1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                  I'm sure you could find some answers here;
                  Alton Brown had an episode once where he went to Lodge and we got a full lesson in cast iron. Maybe it's available on youtube.