Heat Diffuser with Silicone Handle
A heat diffuser for use with a cooking implement is disclosed. The heat diffuser may be positioned using its handle between a heat source and a cooking container to counteract high temperature zones within the cooking container. The diffuser thus aids in even heat distribution throughout a cookware container for more even cooking and provides the user with more control over the heat applied to the cookware container.
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This application claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 61/196,510 which was filed on Oct. 17, 2008, which is herein incorporated by reference in its entirety.BACKGROUND OF THE DISCLOSURE
This disclosure relates to a type of cookware known as a heat diffuser, which is used to reduce heat transfer from the heat source to the cookware, which is placed on top of the heat diffuser. More particularly, this disclosure relates to a heat diffuser with a silicone handle sleeve for improved insulative properties.
Cooking food involves many levels of temperature. In some cases, high levels of heat are necessary, while in other cases lower levels of heat are more desirable. Unfortunately, many heat sources for cooking, such as gas burners or electric heating elements of stoves, lack sufficient adjustability to moderate the heat output as desired. In some cases, for example, burners are unable to operate at low heat settings, lest the burners simply extinguish. Without a heat diffuser between the heat source and the cookware, a person may be unable to accurately moderate the temperature of the cookware and its contents.
In cooking, various temperatures may be desired, for example depending upon the ingredients. To cook pasta, for example, boiling water is desired. A person preparing pasta may then choose to heat a cookware pot of water at high heat to quickly bring it to a boil. Once pasta is added, however, the temperature must be moderated, to minimize the risk of the pot boiling over and an unpleasant mess. Reducing the heat control on the stove may result in a much lower heat level, and poorly cooked pasta. What is needed is a heat diffuser which enables a high level of heat to be maintained from the stove, but also allows a person to modulate the actual level of heat transfer to the cookware, maintaining the desired level of heat to prepare the food contained within the cookware.
Other situations where a heat diffuser as presently disclosed is useful include simmering milk for use in recipes, such as soups or sauces, to prevent scorching or a possible boil-over, which could be dangerous or undesirable. Another example is maintaining a liquid at a low heat for long periods, such as preparing stew or chili. In situations where a low or moderate heat is desired, such as above, the heat diffuser broadcasts heat through the cookware surface, preventing hot spots such as directly under a burner flame or an electric heater coil.
Due to the high levels of heat that a heat diffuser as disclosed may encounter during its service, many heat diffusers are constructed of metal, which is a known good conductor of heat and has good strength properties. This is desirable, as the heat conducted through the diffuser from the heat source side to the cookware side allows for heating of the cookware and its contents. However, as the diffuser also has a handle to allow a person easy placement and adjustment on the heat source, it is an undesired effect that the handle also becomes heated, which may be uncomfortable for a person to touch as heat is conducted down the handle's length. This handle provides a person the option to effectively remove the hot heat diffuser from the stove top and then use the same burner for cooking without the heat diffuser in place.
Another use of the heat diffuser is with a low-moisture type cooking system, such as the VITALOK™ cooking system available through Amway®. The VITALOK Cooking method helps foods retain their natural color, flavor, texture and nutrients. VITALOK Cooking is achieved through the use of a minimal amount of water and low heat that creates a gentle steam vapor. The reduced amount of water and low heat help to prevent the breakdown of thermally unstable nutrients and the leaching of nutrients into excessive amounts of water. The optimal cooking temperature can be checked by spinning the lid. If the lid spins freely, low moisture cooking has been achieved. The heat diffuser assists with low-moisture type cooking by reducing heat transfer from a hard to control cooktop burner allowing for the necessary lower temperatures required for this type of cooking method.SUMMARY OF THE DISCLOSURE
In one embodiment of the present invention a heat diffuser includes a handle sleeve that is easily installed on the handle or over-molded onto the handle that effectively insulates the handle, protecting the user's hand from touching a hot surface, while also providing an improved gripping surface than is provided by the metal handle portion. Silicone provides an ideal set of properties for use as a sleeve material. It is a good insulator and offers a good gripping surface for the handle. Additionally, silicone is easy to mold using injection techniques or other techniques as may be selected. As silicone is easily shaped, various handle sleeves are easily prepared, based on local preferences, such as hand size, color, texture, and other human factor ergonomic considerations. In alternative embodiments, a different heat resistant material for the sleeve may be used.
Heat diffusers are presently disclosed that include a diffusing surface capable of supporting cookware, and a handle attached to the diffusing surface which allow for a user to safely place and move the diffuser about the cook top surface.
In at least one embodiment of the present disclosure, a heat diffuser for use on a cook top is provided. The diffuser allows for heat produced by a cooking surface to be reduced, so that cookware resting on top of the diffuser is heated to a desired level.
In at least one embodiment of the present disclosure, a heat diffuser for use on a heat source is provided. At least a pair of substantially flat metal plates are arranged on top of one another, are securedly connected to a handle and to themselves. The metal plates include a plurality of openings about their surfaces, to allow for heat to be conducted through the plates to cookware resting on top of the diffuser. These openings are offset to avoid a direct heat pathway from the burner heat to the pan's bottom. The metal handle, which is connected to the metal surfaces, includes a silicone sleeve which insulates and provides a gripable surface for a user. The silicone sleeve may be over-molded on top of the metal handle.
In at least one embodiment of the present disclosure, a heat diffuser comprising at least one metal plate with a plurality of openings is securedly fixed to a handle. The handle, generally made of metal, includes a hanging portion for allowing the diffuser to be hung from the hanging portion, such as by a hook. The handle also includes a silicone sleeve, through which the handle is placed, to provide an insulative and gripable surface for a user.
In at least one embodiment of the present disclosure, a heat diffuser comprising at least one metal plate is provided. The at least one metal plate includes a plurality of openings, which may be holes, slots, notches, or other geometric shapes. The at least one metal plate may also include a slotted portion to allow for thermal expansion when in use on a cook top. More than one slotted portion may be included in the metal plate to allow for thermal expansion, or for other reasons, such as ease of manufacturing, or to control heat transfer through the plate. A handle is attached to the at least one metal plate, and a silicone sleeve is attached to the handle for improved insulative as well as frictional properties.
A better understanding of these and other features and advantages may be had by reference to the drawings and to the accompanying description, in which preferred embodiments are illustrated and described.
A heat diffuser 1 according to one embodiment of the present disclosure is shown in
In the current embodiment, a plurality of rivets 6 are used to join the plates 2 together and provide additional strength to the diffuser 1. In alternative embodiments with multiple plates, different fasteners may be employed. The rivets may be arranged in a symmetrical manner, or may be arranged in other ways, as may be appropriate for a particular shape or size diffuser. A center rivet 7 is used in this embodiment to fixedly secure the plates together such that they completely overlap one another, and prevent any lateral shifting of the plates 2, especially if more than 2 plates are used. Handle rivets 8 secure the handle 9 to the plates 2. In this embodiment, two rivets are used, but more or less rivets may be used depending upon the particular use of the diffuser. An additional ridge or depression 5 may be incorporated into the plates 2 in the handle location to further stabilize the handle 9 and prevent detachment or rotation.
Handle 9 is preferably made of metal, but can be made from other suitably strong and heat-resistant materials. In the current embodiment, a portion of the handle extends into the enclosure created when plates 2 are joined together, or in the case of more than 2 plates, an enclosure created by as many plates are joined together. In alternative embodiments, the handle may be fastened to the plates using a different suitable technique. A silicone sleeve 10 is then molded or otherwise securedly attached to the handle, to insulate and to provide a more secure gripping surface for the user. Sleeve 10 may include additional ergonomic elements that improve grip, such as ridges, bumps, knurling, or other friction-enhancing surface treatments. At the end of handle 9 opposite that extending into the enclosure formed by the plates is a hole 11 for hanging the diffuser 1 on a hook for improved storage. Sleeve 10 may also be molded around the hole, or the sleeve may be shorter, leaving the hole 11 solely in the metal of the handle.
The above description is that of the current embodiment of the invention. Various alterations and changes can be made without departing from the spirit and broader aspects of the invention as defined in the appended claims, which are to be interpreted in accordance with the principles of patent law including the doctrine of equivalents. Any reference to claim elements in the singular, for example, using the articles “a,” “an,” “the” or “said,” is not to be construed as limiting the element to the singular.
1. A heat diffuser for use on a heating surface, comprising:
- a metal plate;
- a handle securedly attached to said plate; and
- a sleeve securedly attached to said handle.
2. The heat diffuser of claim 1, wherein said metal plate comprises a plurality of vents.
3. The heat diffuser of claim 1, wherein said metal plate further comprises a plurality of indentations for improving strength and heat transfer.
4. The heat diffuser of claim 1, wherein said sleeve is constructed of silicone.
5. The heat diffuser of claim 1, wherein said sleeve is constructed of a heat resistant material.
6. The heat diffuser of claim 1, wherein said handle is made of metal.
7. The heat diffuser of claim 1, said handle further comprising an open portion to accept a hanging device.
8. A heat diffuser for use on a heating surface, comprising:
- at least two metal plates;
- a plurality of rivets to joinably secure said plates;
- a handle securedly attached to said at least two plates; and
- a sleeve securedly attached to said handle.
9. The heat diffuser of claim 8, wherein said at least one metal plate comprises a plurality of vents.
10. The heat diffuser of claim 8, wherein said at least one metal plate further comprises a plurality of indentations for improving strength and heat transfer.
11. The heat diffuser of claim 8, wherein said sleeve is constructed of silicone.
12. The heat diffuser of claim 8, wherein said sleeve is constructed of a heat resistant material.
13. The heat diffuser of claim 8, wherein said handle is made of metal.
14. The heat diffuser of claim 8, wherein said metal plates cooperatively engage one another for improved rigidity.
15. The heat diffuser of claim 8, said handle further comprising an open portion to accept a hanging device.
Filed: Oct 16, 2009
Publication Date: Apr 22, 2010
Applicant: ACCESS BUSINESS GROUP INTERNATIONAL LLC (Ada, MI)
Inventors: Rick G. Good (Rockford, MI), Susan K. Hoff (Belmont, MI), Mark C. Smith (Rockford, MI), Bradley J. Pippel (Grandville, MI)
Application Number: 12/580,290
International Classification: F28F 7/00 (20060101);