Microwaves are more complex than we think

By Vaageesha Das

Whenever we are hungry and in need to heat some food up, we usually use the microwave. The microwave warms the food in the amount of time we ask it to. But, exactly how do those microwaves work?

The electromagnetic spectrum consists of radio waves, microwaves, infrared radiation, visible light, ultraviolet, X-rays, and gamma rays. Microwaves use radiation to heat up our beloved food. Waves are invisible, but they go in an up-and-down pattern. Microwaves are very “fat” compared to the other waves, except for radio waves. Radio waves are “fatter”

than microwaves.

Microwaves begin their processing of heating by having waves bounce around on the reflective metal (kind of like light bouncing off a mirror) but when the waves reach the food, they travel through and make the molecules vibrate quickly. The vibrating molecules denote that the energy in the waves converts to thermal energy (heat) because the faster the water molecules vibrate, the hotter they get.

The waves warm the liquid inside the food so when you are eating a microwaved pie, the filling on the inside may be a lot hotter than the crust on the outside. Microwaves also heat up different parts of the food at different rates which makes the food have an uneven heating.

Percy Spencer was the inventor of the microwave. He invented it in the 1950s by having a chocolate bar in his pocket and turning on the magnetron. He then noticed that the chocolate was melting. He tested this by later popping some popcorn.

There is a myth that microwaves are unsafe and that they cause cancer. This is entirely untrue.

It is also said that microwaves reduce the nutrients in your food. This is true for all cooking methods (like stoves). Heating will also get rid of Vitamin C because Vitamin C is the most heat-sensitive.

Ionizing radiation is the only type of radiation that causes cancer, and microwaves are far from this dangerous zone. There is a Faraday cage that keeps the waves inside the microwave, and the waves that somehow do manage to escape are so little in level and temperature that they cannot hurt you. Microwaves are very safe.

Vaageesha Das is going into ninth grade at Morgantown High School. Today’s information comes from: https://www.explainthatstuff.com

/microwaveovens.html and paleoleap.com/microwaves-dangerous.

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