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Answer to Question #73354 in Electromagnetism for Adnan Rafi

Question #73354
Food can be warmed and cooked in microwave oven if the food contain water.Why?
Expert's answer
Water (also other substances in the food such as sugars or fats) absorb energy from the microwaves in a process called dielectric heating. Many molecules (such as those of water) are electric dipoles, meaning that they have a partial positive charge at one end and a partial negative charge at the other, and therefore rotate as they try to align themselves with the alternating electric field of the microwaves. Rotating molecules hit other molecules and put them into motion, thus dispersing energy. This energy, dispersed as molecular rotations, vibrations and/or translations in solids and liquids raises the temperature of the food, in a process similar to heat transfer by contact with a hotter body.

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