1. Limited time only! Sign up for a free 30min personal tutor trial with Chegg Tutors
    Dismiss Notice
Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Removing a stuck object

  1. Jun 27, 2010 #1
    ok, here's the problem.

    I've got a pan stuck (horizontally) flat inside a pressure cooker and I just can't get it out. The outer circumference of the pan is exactly the same at the inner circumference of the pressure cooker and I have things under this pan which I was heating in the pressure cooker.
    The pan is just about 1mm thick but it's real tough and can't even bend.

    Here's 2 pics, one showing the pan stuck in the pressure and the other showing a similar pan.

    I've tried to pluck out, hammer out, etc., the pan but it only made things worse.

    Attached Files:

  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 27, 2010 #2

    Filip Larsen

    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    If you somehow can heat the outer cooker while (if possible) keeping the pan cool you may be able to get enough slack to get the pan out. However, since the cooker is conic (sloping sides) you should probably heat it up-side-down or the pan will just get even more stuck.
  4. Jun 27, 2010 #3

    Doc Al

    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    Looks like you've got it jammed in there pretty good. I would try heating the pot, then pouring some cold water on the pan to create a bit of slack. Be ready to pry it out (use a hook, if you have room) if you are able to get some slack.
  5. Jun 27, 2010 #4
    Thanks, Filip Larsen and Doc Al.

    I tried heating the pressure while placing large amounts of ice on the pan and I managed to get a hook in between the 2 so I could try to pull the pan out (and prevent it from sinking in deeper) but no luck. In a very short while the ice started to melt.
  6. Jun 27, 2010 #5
    If you're able to get water in the gap around the inner one then you could try filling that with some water and boiling it to try and create some pressure to help push up on the trapped one perhaps?

    How did you get it stuck there by the way? :biggrin:
  7. Jun 27, 2010 #6
    The pan looks pretty bent up, so I would try a destructive solution. Drill the pan and put a hook or anchor inside to pull it out.
  8. Jun 27, 2010 #7


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor

    Try a suction cup. You can get them for pulling dents (in cars) and they will get lots of grip on a flat smootth surface like that one.
  9. Jun 27, 2010 #8
    what about hitting the top of the pot on a bench , like trying to get the head of an axe
    back on by hitting the handle on the ground , but in this case the opposite. it might not work and you might have to hit it pretty hard .
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2010
  10. Jun 27, 2010 #9
    There seems to be a gap between the sides of the pressure cooker and the pan.Pour water in so it goes through the gap and fills the space between cooker and pan.Now put the whole thing in the freezer so that the water freezes and hopefully pushes up the pan.
  11. Jun 27, 2010 #10
    I like the idea of passing water through the gap, but if I were to freeze or boil, wouldn't the water expand and escape from the gap?

    Xentrix, I was trying to heat some pudding in the pot so I covered it with this pan (like I always do), but this time I don't know how it got stuck - and I tried to get it out with fork and it seems that made it worse. The after much struggling, I realised I needed some physics to sort this problem. (guess I finally didn't get my pudding :(
    Bachelors will always be bachelors ;)
  12. Jun 27, 2010 #11
    It would depend how big the gap is, if it is comfortable for the steam to escape out through then it might not be of much use, I don't think freezing would work because of how the density of water works at near freezing temperatures, I think that water will flow straight back out of the hole before it actually freezes...

    You could try custard powder or flower in there then on some heat... of course make sure nothing breakable is around for when the inner pan pops out :biggrin: :tongue2:

    The only other option I can think of is as suggested to damage the inner pan with a drill or similar and hook it out.
  13. Jun 28, 2010 #12
    maybe use some strong epoxy and glue a hook on it , and pull it off with a slide hammer ,
    and then fasten the pot down , or make a T handle , It looks stainless steel so i guess you couldn't put an electromagnet on it , unless you had current running through it .
  14. Jun 28, 2010 #13
    How many physicists does it take to get a pan out of a pressure cooker? :)

    Ok, so, here's my idea.
    What if you got a small dc motor and made it unbalanced, or just bought a vibrating motor from radio-shack etc. then you flip your cooker-pan-assembly upside down and taped your motor to it. Attaching any weight to the pan would be helpful (suction cups?).

    Essentially, this setup relies on the fact that, with every oscillation of the motor, the pan is more likely to make a slight jump down than a slight jump up.

    Of course, the chance of it jumping either direction could be so small that you're just stuck with a really obnoxious noise until the battery runs out...

    Edit: On second thought, that thing's really in there something awful...
    Last edited: Jun 28, 2010
  15. Jun 28, 2010 #14
    In any case, try Kerosene. There are sprays sold as "liquid wrench" and the like. It gets into all the tiny cracks.
  16. Jun 29, 2010 #15
    I think this is my favorite thread of all time. Im not sure why, its just kind of funny seeing all of the solutions people are coming up with.
  17. Jun 29, 2010 #16
    I might suggest you change your diet to raw vegetation and forget about this " cooking" fad.
  18. Jun 29, 2010 #17


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    I think this is by far the best idea - and most likely to succeed without explosions or steam-scalding.

    btw, hola Dadface. I have not seen your name around PF in years. Have we just been missing each other?
  19. Jun 30, 2010 #18
    A physicist and a mathematician are asked to get a stuck lid out of a pot so it can be used again ,
    The physicist trys all these crazy ideas he can think of like using magnets and various other methods , the mathematician goes to the store and buys a new pot and lid , When asked why he did this , he says because this is a problem i have already solved .
  20. Jun 30, 2010 #19
    Ok this one might be a little crazy , hook up dc current to the pot , we are trying to make a rail gun , have the electrodes on the side of the pot , and then make sure the current is flowing in the right direction to produce magnetic force to push the lid , this might be unpractical but interesting , and it might try to weld the lid to the pot ,
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2010
  21. Jun 30, 2010 #20
    yo, Cragar, I don't want to 'weld' the lid to the pot.

    Guys, I've tried horse-shoe magnets and even the dc-vibrator but no luck. I guess the pudding in there may have turned to super glue or something and that's causing such a jam.

    Now the final try - as DadFace and DaveC426913 have suggested - filling the pot with water and freezing. Let's see after 24hrs (wondering if 24hrs is enough for such volumes of water) otherwise I'll have the lid grinded - in both ways, there's no pudding.
    bye-bye pudding.
  22. Jun 30, 2010 #21
    Dave, where's your sense of fun?!
    We could have him film the explosion so we can all benefit :devil:
  23. Jun 30, 2010 #22


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    Ah, but who would be around to upload it? o:)
  24. Jun 30, 2010 #23
    The pan has been deformed to the point where the seal between the cooker and pan is not remotely air-tight, but can you insert some type of balloon down in there and inflate it? A regular balloon won't work, but what about a http://www.opt-medical.com/components/com_virtuemart/shop_image/product/Sphygmomanometer_4819f68902d41.jpg" [Broken]? You have one of those nearby? No... I doubt the gap is big enough to slip one of those in.

    Yea, I'm liking the ice idea. Since ice freezes top-down, I don't think you'll have an issue with water escaping through the gap.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  25. Jun 30, 2010 #24
    Precisely measure the pan's momentum, but don't measure the momentum of the pressure cooker. Also, you should place a cat in the pot and see if it is dead or alive after the pan removal.
  26. Jun 30, 2010 #25
    weld a hook to the top of the lid
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook