Visualizing Energy Inside a Microwave Oven!

Have you ever wondered why your microwave oven has a rotating turntable, or what exactly makes water boil inside a microwave? This week, we’re joined by Zeke Kossover from The Exploratorium to demonstrate an experiment that visualizes microwave energy in the form of a light show. Plus, we show how glass can absorb microwaves by melting a soda bottle!

Comments (2)

2 thoughts on “Visualizing Energy Inside a Microwave Oven!

  1. Theres a really nice experiment using a microwave to measure the speed of light. which is kind of a cool thing to be able to do yourself directly.
    All you need are a couple of plates, a microwave, some slices of cheese (or you can use chocolate), a ruler and a calculator.

    remove the turntable and rollers for the microwave and put one of the plates, upside down over the turntable drive. Arrange the cheese/chocolate to form a contiguous later on the other plate. Place the second plate the right way up on top of the first plate.
    this means the cheese/chocolate will remain stationary inside the microwave.

    run the microwave for 20-30 seconds, patches of the cheese or chocolate will start to melt. Measure the distance between the centres of two adjacent melted bits. This gives the wavelength of the microwave radiation. Look on the back of the microwave, where you will find a plate stating, amongst other things the frequency of the magnetron (typically 2.45 GHz). then you can use v = fλ to work out the speed of light (v) by multiplying the frequency of the magnetron (f) by the distance between the melted parts (λ).

    Note you need to use SI units for the thing to work so you would need to have the the distance between melted bits measured in metres so you need to do the measurement in centimetres and divide by 100. also you need to enter the magnetron frequency in hertz. so 2450000000 rather than 2.45.

  2. “Glass doesn’t conduct heat super well” Lol what? Soda lime has 3x the thermal diffusivity of gold. It conducts heat TOO well.

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