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Science File

I Didn't Know That

November 05, 2001

Question: How does a rice cooker know when to turn off?

Answer: By measuring the temperature of the contents. As long as liquid water remains in the container and the water is boiling, the temperature will not rise above 212 degrees. As soon as all the water is absorbed, however, the temperature begins to climb rapidly. A monitor detects this increase and shuts the device off. The same principle is used in automatic hard-boiled egg makers and the water-heating portion of a drip coffee maker.

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