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how does the egg cooker work?


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22 replies to this topic

#1 of 23 OFFLINE   Micah Cohen

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Posted December 22 2006 - 05:38 AM

When you use the Egg Cooker, you put the eggs on the holder, and then use a small measuring cup to put the proper amount of water into the well. The water is then boiled off, cooking the eggs. Usually, it works perfectly.

My question is about the little cup: its graduations show lines going up from the bottom of the cup, the narrower bottom to the wider top. The lines are, bottom to top: 7, 6, 5, 4, etc. So, the fewer eggs you are cooking, it seems, the more water you are using to cook them (because you're filling the cup up to a higher line at the wider part of the cup for "4 eggs" than you are for "6 eggs" which is closer to the narrow bottom of the cup). Why is this?

Sometimes I get a-scared and when I'm cooking 7 eggs I fill the cup to the 6 egg line thinking, "This 7-egg line can not be enough water to cook seven eggs." Sometimes I get crazy and put the water at the -- gulp! -- five cup line. Nevertheless, the eggs are always cooked perfectly, sometimes with a tad of green around the yolk (which is, a little over-done).

Anyway, I just ate a egg Posted Image and this occurred to me. Figured the brains at HTF could solve this for me.

MC
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#2 of 23 OFFLINE   Jay H

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Posted December 22 2006 - 05:59 AM

Would this just be a matter of volume? Not knowing what the inside of the cooker is, normally, when I boil hard boiled eggs, I add enough water to cover the eggs. Now if this contraption has the eggs in a simply water bath with an electric element to heat the water, The more eggs you have in it, the less water you need to cover the eggs and vice versa, the less eggs means the more water you need to fill up the space where there aren't eggs....

Just a guess though...

Jay
You are the crispy noodle in the vegetarian salad of life

#3 of 23 OFFLINE   MarkHastings

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Posted December 22 2006 - 07:19 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jay H
The more eggs you have in it, the less water you need to cover the eggs and vice versa, the less eggs means the more water you need to fill up the space where there aren't eggs....

Just a guess though...

Jay
That would be my guess as well. The more eggs you use, the less room will be needed for water.

#4 of 23 OFFLINE   harryk

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Posted December 22 2006 - 09:03 AM

seems like a complicated thing to do for an egg Posted Image

#5 of 23 OFFLINE   Micah Cohen

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Posted December 22 2006 - 09:27 AM

Well, in this egg cooker the eggs do not touch liquid.

They sit on a sort of plastic grid (with round egg-openings) that suspends the eggs slightly above the water well. You pour in a measure of water from the cup, into the well, and then the well heats up, boiling the water and (I guess) "steaming" the eggs till the water is gone. At that point, about 12 minutes or so, the mechanism shuts off automatically, and you're supposed to plunge the eggs (in the grid, for easy handling) into cold water, etc.

I'm wondering how the mechanism knows how much water is in the well (just a sort of concave hot plate), and how come you apparently use less water in the well the more eggs you cook (as measured in the little water cup, with its more-egg graduations going up the cup from narrow bottom to wide top)?

Just seems weird to me.

But then, what doesn't?

MC
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#6 of 23 OFFLINE   Marc S Kessler

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Posted December 22 2006 - 09:51 AM

Got one, use it and love it. Eggs are always perfect.
MARC S KESSLER

#7 of 23 OFFLINE   Kevin Hewell

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Posted December 22 2006 - 10:31 AM

Unitasker!!

#8 of 23 OFFLINE   Micah Cohen

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Posted December 22 2006 - 10:37 AM

Is that an insult? I'm trying to concentrate here...

Posted Image

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#9 of 23 OFFLINE   BrianW

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Posted December 22 2006 - 12:34 PM

It's an interesting problem. I congratulate you on your curiosity. Here's my take on the problem:

The way I understand it, the heat from the steam is being transferred to the eggs as the steam passes over them, and then the steam (along with the heat it carries) is allowed to escape. So with the escaping heat, this is not a closed conduction system like a conventional oven, which cooks twelve cookies just as fast (and just as slow) as it cooks one.

I think the answer lies in the fact that the eggs, presumably cold at the beginning of the process, would necessarily cause some of this steam to condense back into liquid and drip back into the reservoir, thereby preventing some of the heat from escaping as steam. The more eggs you have, the more cold surface area there is for water to condense and drip back into the reservoir, which increases the number of thermal transfer cycles each water molecule must endure before it is allowed finally to escape with its unit of heat.

So the more eggs you have, the more "thermal bang for your buck" you get per water molecule, since the water molecules must now make an increased number of thermal heat-transfer round trips from the burner to the egg's surface before they finally have the energy to escape. Therefore, less water is required with increasing numbers of eggs.
-Brian
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#10 of 23 OFFLINE   Micah Cohen

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Posted December 22 2006 - 12:56 PM

... Wow. Huh. Amazing, really.

So, I should not, as I sometimes do, let the eggs come down from c-c-chilly refrigerator temp closer to "room temp" before starting the machine?

Doing that would, if what you say is true (and it sounds just complex enough to me for me to regard it as such), would ruin my eggs!

Posted Image

Huh.

MC
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#11 of 23 OFFLINE   Jeff Gatie

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Posted December 22 2006 - 01:02 PM

It works just like the "Mr. Tea" machine from the old Saturday Night Live skit.

"All you need is a cup, a tea bag and boiling hot water . . . and Mister Tea does the rest!"

#12 of 23 OFFLINE   Jay H

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Posted December 23 2006 - 01:31 AM

Micah, does the machine have a perculator like steam release system??? Perhaps the unit is sealed (vacuum) with a pressure release system so the eggs not only use heat to cook, but pressure too (unlike your basic "stick eggs in a 2 lt pan and cover and boil).

Don't forget one can use pressure to cook food too, not just heat. Has to do with thermodynamics and P=VrT law I believe (whatever the name for that is). I believe this is how tunafish is cooked, via pressure once the tuna is packaged in those little aluminum cans....

So I think it still has to do with volume with more volume of eggs, the less water the unit needs to steam and pressurize or so...

Need a physicist here!

Jay
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#13 of 23 OFFLINE   ChristopherDAC

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Posted December 23 2006 - 02:51 AM

"Pressure cookers" don't cook with pressure. They cook with heat, like everything else. The important fact is, however, that the boiling point of water (as with virtually everything else) rises with increasing pressure. At sea level, the boiling water you put in your tea is going to be 212 degrees Fahrenheit ; at the top of Mount Everest, only about 120, and it's pretty disappointing. By the same effect, liquid water in a pressure cooker, a tin can, or some other sealed container, can be raised to quite high temperatures, 300 degrees or more, without boiling. The result is powerful cooking action. At the extreme, the water in a Pressurized Water Reactor nuclear core can be 600 degrees or higher and liquid.

Not a physicist, but working toward a degree in mechanical engineering, so I eat and drink thermodynamics.

#14 of 23 OFFLINE   Micah Cohen

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Posted December 23 2006 - 02:51 AM

Quote:
Need a physicist here!
I play one on TeeVee.

No, it's not a "percolator" system. (Do you want to know about my coffee- making travails? I'll start a new thread. Suffice to say, stove-top plus thermal carafe makes coffee that puts "Starbucks" to shame.)

The Egg Cooker has a lid, the dome top, but the top is vented. Steam shoots out of the hole, like a tea kettle.

Posted Image

MC
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#15 of 23 OFFLINE   BrianW

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Posted December 23 2006 - 03:02 AM

Quote:
Need a physicist here!
Hey! I AM a physicist here! Posted Image

Well, at least I used to be. Now I'm just a crackpot engineer who traded a life of studying String Theory for one of software engineering. I even melted down all my physics trophies to make a... Okay, I didn't make anything out of them. I just melted them down so I wouldn't get so many wedgies from people who happened to see them.

Jay, your theory has merit, though "cooking with pressure" is something of a mis-statement. Pressure enhances cooking only to the extent that it is employed to raise the boiling point of water so that higher temperatures can be achieved.
Quote:
Has to do with thermodynamics and P=VrT [sic] law I believe (whatever the name for that is)
That's the Ideal Gas Law, and if the egg cooker is pressurized, then it follows that the more eggs you have (taking up volume), the less water you would need to achieve and maintain the required pressure.

So if it turns out that the egg cooker is pressurized, you win! Posted Image
-Brian
Come, Rubidia. Let's blow this epoch.

#16 of 23 OFFLINE   BrianW

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Posted December 23 2006 - 03:21 AM

I need to learn to type faster. Christopher and Micah slipped theirs in while I was trying to find a good Ideal Gas Law link. Sorry, didn't mean to be redundant.
Quote:
I play one on TeeVee.
Micah, you do better than that. You see wonders in everyday things and ponder the scientific principles behind them. Keep that up. Forever. I mean it.

But this is the part that interests me the most, because it has to do with me:
Quote:
The Egg Cooker has a lid, the dome top, but the top is vented. Steam shoots out of the hole, like a tea kettle.
So the cooker isn't pressurized? Hey! That means I win!

So what do I win?

(No more trophies, please.) Posted Image
-Brian
Come, Rubidia. Let's blow this epoch.

#17 of 23 OFFLINE   Micah Cohen

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Posted December 23 2006 - 07:07 AM

You guys are cracking me up. (Pun intended... Eggs, cracked... get it? Right.)

Did we figure out why the Egg Cooker uses (it seems) less water per more eggs being cooked? I can't recall. Posted Image

Or was that String Theory? Or, was the String Theory about the white stuff in the eggs? Was someone else talking about that?

What is going on?

Quote:
Keep that up.
Brian: Is there really a Santa Claus? I need to know.

Quote:
"You can't'a fool me! There ain't no Sanity Clause!"

Happy Holidays, everyone!

MC
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#18 of 23 OFFLINE   BrianW

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Posted December 23 2006 - 09:18 AM

I don't know if we solved the problem, Micah, but we have a couple of good theories. (The steam could be venting at higher than atmospheric pressure, so Jay's theory is still in the running, I'd say.) I'd have to get an egg cooker and conduct some experiments before knowing for sure.

The same goes for Santa Claus. But I might need two egg cookers for that experiment. (One would serve as the control sample in the Santa experiment, as you have probably already guessed.)
Quote:
Happy Holidays, everyone!
Same to you Micah, and to everyone else! Thanks for giving us something fun to think about, and for helping to keep our brains alert during the eggnog onslaught!

Posted Image Heh. I said "EGGnog". Posted Image
-Brian
Come, Rubidia. Let's blow this epoch.

#19 of 23 OFFLINE   MarkHastings

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Posted December 23 2006 - 10:47 AM

Q: How does the egg cooker work?
A: Magic

Posted Image It's a Festivus Miracle!

#20 of 23 OFFLINE   Jay H

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Posted December 26 2006 - 07:59 AM

Maybe this is a job for Mythbusters!!!!

I bet that egg cooker is a lot more complicated than the 16-cup rice cooker that I bought for my parents... I think the solution is to stop making eggs and start making rice!

Jay
You are the crispy noodle in the vegetarian salad of life


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