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Microwave, how it works

Microwave, how it works

Microwave, how it works: here is explained, in a simple way, the operating mechanism that allows you to heat your food (organic components) with themicrowave.

To understandhow a microwave worksand how does he heat up the food, we must first make an important premise on what they arefrequencies, thewaves, light and, in a broader sense, theradiation.

What does the operation of the microwave have to do with light? Center and how, even light is composed of radiation (in fact, light radiation). On this page, I will explain you a lotsimpleand accessible to all, themicrowave operation.

What are microwaves

Light is oneradiationwith an undulatory and corpuscular nature (Albert Einstein, for this discovery won the Nobel Prize with the theory of light quanta). When we talk about light we refer to a very narrow part of the absorption spectrum or of radiation emissions.

Gamma rays, x-rays and UV rays

When a wavelength is less than one nanometer (nm) we speak of "gamma rays". With radiation below 100 nm, we speak of X-ray.

From 100 nm to about 360 nm we have UV rays (those harmful to the skin). These rays are "full of energy“.

If we consider a photon at 260 nm, this is characterized by an energy equal to 4.8 electron volts. Uv rays are characterized by a wavelength between 100 and 360 nm. The absorption peak of the nitrogenous bases of our DNA is at 260 nm, when our nitrogenous bases absorb radiation at 260 nm undergo mutations. This is why UV rays are so harmful and can even trigger skin cancers.

Visible light, infrared radiation and microwaves

Finally we arrive at the light in the visible range that goes from 360 to 760 nm. With radiation with different wavelengths (always included in the visible range) we have different colors. So with frequencies between 630 and 760 nm we see red. With frequencies around 470 we see blue and so on.

Beyond 760 nm, we have the so-calledinfrared radiation. Infrared radiation is mainly thermal. Climbing again and arriving athigher wavelengths, we find themicrowave radiation.

Short waves and radio waves

The more the wavelength grows, the more we lose energy up to the Radio Waves (which can even reach several thousand meters or kilometers) and short waves. Radio waves are what we use to send signals into space. Short waves have a much more limited range than radio waves.

How a microwave works

Themicrowavethey are characterized by thermal energy which, due to their wavelength, are absorbed by water and lipids.

This explains why, by bombarding a food withmicrowave, this food is heated first inside and then outside.

Outside, any food is more dehydrated. Themicrowaves heat upwater and lipids. This is why a glass pan, if placed in the microwave, remains cold ... it has no water!

Therewavelength of microwavesit is very long compared to that of the visible field light. An oven amicrowaveUSAradiation at wavelengths of 12 cm!

This mechanism is not very difficult to understand, just think that the laser treatments used in the medical field exploit aoperationanalogous using different wavelengths. For example, laser hair removal uses wavelengths from 1064 nm to 775 nm to target andoverheatthe melanin of our hair bulbs without affecting the rest of the skin. For further information: laser hair removal, how it works.

To make you better understand the order of magnitude in which themicrowave compared to laser radiation, just think that 1064 nm correspond to 0.001064 mm while themicrowave ovenshouseholds operate at a wavelength of 12 cm, therefore at a very low energy intensity.

Microwave, radiation is bad

For theradiationissued bymicrowavethere is nothing to worry about. All the microwaves currently on the market are equipped with shielding plates that do not allow the passage of “radiation”.

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Video: How Do Microwaves Work? (October 2021).