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A photograph of the surface of planet Venus is shown. The lava flows on Venus are shown as orange red color of the surface.
An image of Sif Mons with lava flows on Venus, based on Magellan synthetic aperture radar data combined with radar altimetry to produce a three-dimensional map of the surface. The Venusian atmosphere is opaque to visible light, but not to the microwaves that were used to create this image. (credit: NSSDC, NASA/JPL)

Heating with microwaves

How does the ubiquitous microwave oven produce microwaves electronically, and why does food absorb them preferentially? Microwaves at a frequency of 2.45 GHz are produced by accelerating electrons. The microwaves are then used to induce an alternating electric field in the oven.

Water and some other constituents of food have a slightly negative charge at one end and a slightly positive charge at one end (called polar molecules). The range of microwave frequencies is specially selected so that the polar molecules, in trying to keep orienting themselves with the electric field, absorb these energies and increase their temperatures—called dielectric heating.

The energy thereby absorbed results in thermal agitation heating food and not the plate, which does not contain water. Hot spots in the food are related to constructive and destructive interference patterns. Rotating antennas and food turntables help spread out the hot spots.

Another use of microwaves for heating is within the human body. Microwaves will penetrate more than shorter wavelengths into tissue and so can accomplish “deep heating” (called microwave diathermy). This is used for treating muscular pains, spasms, tendonitis, and rheumatoid arthritis.

Making connections: take-home experiment—microwave ovens

  1. Look at the door of a microwave oven. Describe the structure of the door. Why is there a metal grid on the door? How does the size of the holes in the grid compare with the wavelengths of microwaves used in microwave ovens? What is this wavelength?
  2. Place a glass of water (about 250 ml) in the microwave and heat it for 30 seconds. Measure the temperature gain (the Δ T size 12{DT} {} ). Assuming that the power output of the oven is 1000 W, calculate the efficiency of the heat-transfer process.
  3. Remove the rotating turntable or moving plate and place a cup of water in several places along a line parallel with the opening. Heat for 30 seconds and measure the Δ T size 12{DT} {} for each position. Do you see cases of destructive interference?

Microwaves generated by atoms and molecules far away in time and space can be received and detected by electronic circuits. Deep space acts like a blackbody with a 2.7 K temperature, radiating most of its energy in the microwave frequency range. In 1964, Penzias and Wilson detected this radiation and eventually recognized that it was the radiation of the Big Bang’s cooled remnants.

Infrared radiation

The microwave and infrared regions of the electromagnetic spectrum overlap (see [link] ). Infrared radiation is generally produced by thermal motion and the vibration and rotation of atoms and molecules. Electronic transitions in atoms and molecules can also produce infrared radiation.

Questions & Answers

What is the difference between a principle and a law
the law is universally proved. The principal depends on certain conditions.
state Faraday first law
aliyu Reply
it states that mass of an element deposited during electrolysis is directly proportional to the quantity of electricity discharge
what does the speedometer of a car measure ?
Jyoti Reply
Car speedometer measures the rate of change of distance per unit time.
describe how a Michelson interferometer can be used to measure the index of refraction of a gas (including air)
using the law of reflection explain how powder takes the shine off a person's nose. what is the name of the optical effect?
is higher resolution of microscope using red or blue light?.explain
what is dimensional consistent
In engineering and science, dimensional analysis is the analysis of the relationships between different physical quantities by identifying their base quantities and units of measure and tracking these dimensions as calculations or comparisons are performed
can sound wave in air be polarized?
Unlike transverse waves such as electromagnetic waves, longitudinal waves such as sound waves cannot be polarized. ... Since sound waves vibrate along their direction of propagation, they cannot be polarized
A proton moves at 7.50×107m/s perpendicular to a magnetic field. The field causes the proton to travel in a circular path of radius 0.800 m. What is the field strength?
Celedonio Reply
derived dimenionsal formula
Ajak Reply
what is the difference between mass and weight
Isru Reply
assume that a boy was born when his father was eighteen years.if the boy is thirteen years old now, how is his father in
what is head-on collision
Javaid Reply
what is airflow
Godswill Reply
derivative of first differential equation
Haruna Reply
why static friction is greater than Kinetic friction
Ali Reply
draw magnetic field pattern for two wire carrying current in the same direction
Ven Reply
An American traveler in New Zealand carries a transformer to convert New Zealand’s standard 240 V to 120 V so that she can use some small appliances on her trip.
nkombo Reply
What is the ratio of turns in the primary and secondary coils of her transformer?
what is energy
How electric lines and equipotential surface are mutually perpendicular?
Abid Reply
The potential difference between any two points on the surface is zero that implies È.Ŕ=0, Where R is the distance between two different points &E= Electric field intensity. From which we have cos þ =0, where þ is the angle between the directions of field and distance line, as E andR are zero. Thus
sorry..E and R are non zero...

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Source:  OpenStax, College physics. OpenStax CNX. Jul 27, 2015 Download for free at http://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11406/1.9
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