microwave oven

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microwave oven

microwave oven, device that uses microwaves to rapidly cook food. The microwaves cause water molecules in the food to vibrate, producing heat, which is distributed through the food by induction. A special electron tube called a magnetron produces the microwaves. Typical output power for consumer devices ranges from 650 to 1200 watts. To ensure even heating, the magnetron directs its waves at a rotating metal disk with offset vanes, which scatters the waves through the oven cavity; a rotating platform for the food is sometimes used in addition. Power settings may reduce the amount of radiation by cycling a constant-output magnetron on and off for varying lengths of time, or may reduce the level of radiation constantly produced by an inverter magnetron. The magnetron may be supplemented by quartz and halogen bulbs for browning food, which microwaves do poorly.
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microwave oven

[′mī·krə‚wāv ′əv·ən]
(engineering)
An oven that uses microwave heating for fast cooking of meat and other foods.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

microwave oven

An oven that heats food using microwave radiation. The first microwave oven was demonstrated by Westinghouse at the 1933 World's Fair in Chicago. Its 10-kilowatt shortwave radio transmitter cooked meat and potatoes between metal plates. In 1946, Ratheon introduced its Radarange oven using the company's magnetron tubes, and Raytheon engineer Percy Spencer applied for patents. In the 1950s, Raytheon ovens were sold to restaurants for high-speed cooking. By the late 1960s, microwave ovens began to appear in homes, and of course, today microwave ovens are found in most every household in the developed world. See magnetron.
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