How do metal handles on some cookware stay cool/cold?


Like, I just bought one of those Granite Stone fry pans, and while cooking some pork chops I got to wondering… Metal conducts heat and electricity, so how do the metal handles on some fry pans and cook pots stay cool while some (mainly solid, single-piece metal pans) get hot to where you need a pot holder to hold or move them?

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Most pans with a riveted handle do this in two ways.

The section of the handle that’s attached to the pan is usually separated into two, smaller sections so there is less material to transfer the heat from the pan to the thicker part of the handle that you hold, and there is also more surface area for the heat to radiate off of.

Also, the main part of the handle on many of these pans is hollow. This is done partly to reduce the overall weight, but it also helps keep the handle cooler. Less mass means it can’t retain as much heat, and it can shed any heat it does get from the pan much easier.

For a handle to get hot, the heat must travel from the pan to the handle. Therefore handles are often designed to have a small cross sectional area at the point of contact so even if it is high temperature, only a small amount of heat can make it to the handle.

Then the handle usually has a large surface area so if heat does make it to the handle, the heat will be carried away by the air surrounding the handle. Also note the handle is to the side so heat from the stove won’t heat it up from the bottom.

The base of the pan is aluminium (which reddit, apparently, spells aluminum?) and the handle is stainless steel.

Metals conduct heat, true, but not at the same rate; aluminium conducts heat 20x better than stainless steel, so the food gets 20x more heat than the handle.

Copper is even better than (OK …) aloominum, but it can get into the food.