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Why I don’t do fun science tricks with microwave ovens

February 15, 2016

I think I’ll stick with putting a cup of water in it and heating it for a minute or so to loosen the dried gunk then wiping it off.

Matthew Wright

It occurred to me the other day that one dandy way to clean a microwave oven is to chuck a cake of soap into it and blast it on ‘high’ for a few minutes.

Artwork by Plognark Creative Commons license Artwork by Plognark Creative Commons license

It was a better idea than my previous microwave-inspired trick which involved dismantling the rotating platter and using egg whites and a ruler to measure the speed of light in air.

Sound nuts? Actually, it’s a physics principle. Let me explain. A microwave oven only heats things when the wave is at maximum amplitude, so the platter spins so the food is evenly heated.

If you remove the rotating platter, you defeat that part of the design. Now add a flat plate spread with egg white and turn the machine on. The cooked parts appear as stripes. You then measure the peak-to-peak distance  with a ruler, which gives you…

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