Investigation of Residential Cooktop Ignition Prevention Technologies

Published: May 31, 2018


Sung Chan Kim, Anthony P. Hamins, Matthew F. Bundy


Several international standards and regulations regarding residential cooktop ignition prevention have existed for as long as a decade. A series of cooking experiments were conducted by National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to examine the effectiveness of the cooktop ignition prevention technologies. Several types of commercially available full-scale residential cooktops with integrated ignition prevention technologies were tested. The experiments provided data on the character of the ignition prevention technologies and their performance in terms of ignition prevention of oil-based cooking fires. About 80 experiments were conducted using both gas and electric cooktops, including four propane gas powered cooktops sold in Asia and one stove with electric coil heating elements sold in the USA. One retrofit ignition prevention system for electric coil heating elements was also tested. The ignition prevention technologies used a variety of configurations and engineering designs. Experiments were conducted using four types of cooking vessels. The pans tested were approximately round, about 20 cm to 22 cm in diameter, and 4 cm to 5 cm in depth. The tests followed the UL 858 standard on abnormal cooktop fire hazards. Five thermocouples were attached on the bottom of the pans in a cross pattern and the average pan temperature during cooking was monitored. For the experiments involving cooking oil, the incidence of auto-ignition was observed. About half of the experiments were conducted using dry pans and about half were conducted on pans that held small amounts of Canola oil. The results showed that some of the cooktop technologies were more reliable than others in preventing oil ignition and maintaining temperatures below the UL 858 standard’s limit temperature criteria. And the results confirm that residential cooktop ignition prevention technologies can be effective for both electric and gas cooktops.
Citation: Technical Note (NIST TN) - 1986
Report Number:
NIST Pub Series: Technical Note (NIST TN)
Pub Type: NIST Pubs

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Created May 31, 2018, Updated May 31, 2018