microwave oven


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microwave oven,

device that uses microwavesmicrowave,
electromagnetic wave having a frequency range from 1,000 megahertz (MHz) to 300,000 MHz, corresponding to a wavelength range from 300 mm (about 12 in.) to 1 mm (about 0.04 in.). Like light waves, microwaves travel essentially in straight lines.
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 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 tubeelectron tube,
device consisting of a sealed enclosure in which electrons flow between electrodes separated either by a vacuum (in a vacuum tube) or by an ionized gas at low pressure (in a gas tube).
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 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.

microwave oven

[′mī·krə‚wāv ′əv·ən]
(engineering)
An oven that uses microwave heating for fast cooking of meat and other foods.
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