How-To Geek

How Microwave Ovens Work [Video]

In this informative how-it-works video, we’re treated to a peek inside the common microwave and the science behind the magnetron that powers it.

Bill details how a microwave oven heats food. He describes how the microwave vacuum tube, called a magnetron, generates radio frequencies that cause the water in food to rotate back and forth. He shows the standing wave inside the oven, and notes how you can measure the wavelength with melted cheese. He concludes by describing how a magnetron generates radio waves.

[via Make]

Jason Fitzpatrick is a warranty-voiding DIYer who spends his days cracking opening cases and wrestling with code so you don't have to. If it can be modded, optimized, repurposed, or torn apart for fun he's interested (and probably already at the workbench taking it apart). You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 06/27/12

Comments (13)

  1. MJ

    Thanks! Please keep posting these Engineer Guy videos!

  2. Crapsandviche

    Man, I could go for some melted cheese.

  3. Ushindi

    Agree wholeheartedly with MJ.

  4. JC

    I always wondered why the cheese didn’t melt in some spots! Now I know!

  5. tony hyde

    it never fails to amaze me about things we take for granted until we find out how they work sometimes we understand sometimes we dont

  6. minimoto

    Now we need to make a microwave oven that uses two different frequencies that complement each other so all our cheese is evenly melted.

  7. Fuuny Man

    @minimoto: From what I know about waves, I don’t think that’s possible because when you have multiple frequency waves, they could interfere with each other and cancel some components out (so it is very difficult to achieve an “even heating”). This is called destructive interference. I might be wrong though, so feel free to correct me physicists out there.

  8. Rick S

    They get around the uneven heating by rotating the food. You guys. lol.

  9. Trey Dio

    Someone needs to tell Bill that the comb over is not a good look.

  10. BigJohn

    Hot and cold spots is why we use turntables.

  11. biospot

    That was VERY good.

  12. siulayhumga

    This is one of the VERY few internet videos I have watched that explain how a microwave works correctly. Most of them either missing some key points or just wrong.

  13. howard10

    like Ray replied I am amazed that a mother able to profit $4635 in 1 month on the computer. did you read this page N U T T Y R | C H . C O M

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