HOW MICROWAVE OVENS WORK
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How do microwave ovens work?
Surprisingly, microwave ovens were invented by accident
during the time of World War II, when Dr. Percy LeBaron Spencer, was trying to
invent a machine that would produce radiation. The first microwave ovens stood
at nearly six feet tall, were over 750 pounds and cost approximately $5,000.
These kitchen appliances have come a long way since those times. They are now
compact units, both small in measurement and light in weight and almost every
home in America has one sitting on their countertop. But just how do these small
appliances cook food at such a fast rate? And how can they cook the food that’s
placed in them but not the container that holds the food?
Not surprisingly, a microwave oven uses microwaves
to cook the food that’s placed in them. These microwaves are also known as radio
waves. The frequency of radio waves found in a typical microwave oven is about
2,500 megahertz. Because of the frequency that these radio waves have, they are
remarkably able to be absorbed by water, sugars, and fats. Once they are
absorbed, they immediately transform into atomic motion, which is in the form of
heat. However, these radio waves cannot be absorbed by materials such as
plastic, glass, and ceramics. Any type of metal however, will rebound the waves
to where they originally came from, which will not only not heat the food but it
can also cause quiet a bit of damage.
Microwave ovens work extremely different than
conventional ovens, not only because they use radio waves to cook food but also
because a conventional oven’s heat cooks the outside of the food first and
slowly makes it way inside. This is why the outside of food becomes crispy while
the inside stays moist in a conventional oven. However, the radio waves in a
microwave oven are absorbed simultaneously by the sugar, fat, and water
particles within the food. When these are set into motion all at the same time,
the entire piece of food is getting cooked at the same time and not from the
inside out, as it’s so commonly believed. The parts of the food that are
sometimes hotter than the rest of the food are because there are more of the
sugars, fats, and water in that particular area. A microwave oven is moving
atoms whereas a conventional oven is conducting heat.
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