MadSci Network: Chemistry

Re: Would adding microwaves to a flame, produce a hotter flame?

Date: Mon Sep 17 20:13:27 2001
Posted By: Edward Peterson, Staff, Chemical Engineering, S&B Engineers and Constructors
Area of science: Chemistry
ID: 996207778.Ch

Microwaves interact poorly with plasmas, so the temperature of the flame 
is not likely to increase.  The candle will not necessarily melt, either.  
However, the small amount of carbon at the flame tip will absorb microwave 
energy VERY effectively, so you will observe a brighter light at the 
carbon tip.

Interestingly, microwaves can create plasmas, which is confusing indeed.  
However, they do this when irradiating gases at low pressure.  For 
example, a burned out incandesent light bulb placed in a microwave oven 
(for only a few seconds, please), will create interesting colors...violet, 
orange and sometimes green.

If you have more microwave specific questions, you can ask them directly 

Edward Peterson, PhD, P.E.

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