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Thread: Difference between microwave cooking and infra red grill?

  1. #1 Difference between microwave cooking and infra red grill? 
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    Why is food cooked differently by microwaves than by an infra-red grill?

    And why can't we cook food with X-rays or radio waves?


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  3. #2  
    The Doctor Quantime's Avatar
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    Microwaves heat up water molecules in food thats what cooks it. I think infrared waves just heat up objects slowly by transfering energy from itself (photons) to the food. Its slower as well. Radio waves are to weak for anything to be done to food, and X-rays are too powerful, Xrays would just slowly break apart the molecules in the food.


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  4. #3  
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    They both transfer electromagnetic energy to your food, creating heat. The main difference is that microwaves aren't absorbed very well, so many of them penetrate deeply into the food before being turned into heat. That's what allows you to cook food very quickly with them. With an infrared grill the electromagnetic energy is all absorbed by the outer surface of the food, so you're only really heating the first few millimeters or so. The heat has to slowly work its way into center of the food, which is why it takes longer to cook. If you tried to use an infrared grill to blast food with the sort of energy that a microwave delivers, you would end up with food that was charred on the outsied and still cold on the inside.
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  5. #4  
    Moderator Moderator Dishmaster's Avatar
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    Microwaves are radio waves. The microwave oven is very efficient for another reason. It generates electromagnetic radiation at roughly only one wavelength. This is the resonance wavelength of water molecules (about 12 cm), where they begin to rotate. Therefore, all the radiative energy is put into a single spectral line which heats up the water. Furthermore, since this radiation only barely interacts with stuff other than water, it can penetrate the food very deeply. An IR oven emits a Planck-like continuous spectrum that also has some energy that does not contribute to the heating (e.g. light) and is lost for this process.
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