Teaching Physics with the Physics Suite

Edward F. Redish

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Boiling water in a microwave

Most of you have had the experience of using a microwave oven to boil a cup of water. (If you have not, ask a friend or roommate to help you estimate the time in A.) According to a Pyrex measuring cup I have in my kitchen that is marked in both English and SI units, one cup contains about 230 ml.

  1. From the amount of time it takes to heat one cup of water from room temperature to boiling in a microwave oven, estimate the power that the oven delivers to the water in Watts (Joules/second).

  2. Assuming electromagnetic radiation is flowing into the cup in the microwave from all sides, estimate the electromagnetic energy flux, S, in W/m2.

  3. From the flux you calculated, estimate the strength of the electric and magnetic fields in a microwave oven.

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Page last modified October 23, 2002: OP05