|MadSci Network: Engineering|
Dear Emily, Your question is very open ended, so I don't know how much detail to provide or even if I can answer your question. I will assume that you want to know how a microwave "Oven" works. A microwave by itself is a form of electromagnetic energy that has a frequeny in the range of 300 megahertz to about 100 Gigahertz. This is not a fixed range and various people accepth different ranges. A microwave oven is one way to expose matter to microwave energy. The interaction of microwave energy with matter results in the conversion of this form of electromagnetic energy into heat. The heat is created when microwave energy interacts with molecular dipoles, twisting them and making them move back and forth. Dipoles exist in matter when a molecule is composed of different chemicals, such as carbon and oxygen, and there are chemical bonds that these atoms share. When one holds electrons more strongly than the other, the bond is polarized, having a more negative end and a more positive end. The microwave, being electromagnetic energy, is composed of electrical and magnetic fields. If the dipole is an electrical dipole, as most chemical dipoles are, the microwave electrical field in a microwave oven changes direction 5.9 billion times a second. Each field reversal tugs at the dipole a little bit, causing the dipole to twist and turn the molecule that it is attached to a little. That little tug and twist multiplied by about 6 billion each second results in a lot of heat. That is a little knowledge. If you need to know more, or you have a more specific question, you can write me directly at email@example.com Dr. Ed Peterson
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