Introduction to Radiation
There are seven sections on the electromagnetic spectrum, ranging from very long wavelengths to very short wavelengths. In this lesson we’ll be focusing on microwaves, but the other types are as follows:
UV rays are harmless in short periods of time. However, many of us like to go outside in the summer and bask in the sun’s rays. We put on sunscreen to protect our skin from the damage ultraviolet light can potentially cause. The more harmful types of radiation on the electromagnetic spectrum are X-rays and gamma rays. This is why we wear lead when being scanned by an X-ray machine, and why gamma rays are used to destroy some kinds of cancer cells.
How Microwaves Work
Your typical household microwave is able to convert a standard 120-volt electrical outlet into 3000+ volts of power to generate waves of radiation that will heat your food. Inside a microwave is a part called the magnetron, which is what boils off electrons that are whirled around by magnets to create microwaves at a specific frequency. An antenna then transfers those waves into the open chamber where your food is waiting to be cooked.
One great thing about these appliances is that you don’t have to worry about the radiation damaging anything outside your microwave. Household microwaves have a metal plate with holes in it that are small enough to prevent the waves from escaping, but it still allows you to see the food inside.
Homemade Caramel Apples
Apples are a good fruit to eat all throughout the year, but this sweet treat is great in the fall! Many fairs or spooky events serve caramel apples to their visitors, but why wait when you can make them at home in the microwave? This recipe from AllRecipes.com calls for only a few ingredients: six apples, six craft sticks, some butter, a 14-ounce package of cooking caramels, and two tablespoons of milk.
First, you’ll want to remove the stems and stickers from the apples (twisting is a good way to get the stems off). Press a craft stick into each apple and set aside with a buttered baking sheet.
Fischetti, Mark. “How the Microwave Works.” Scientific American, scientificamerican.com. Accessed on 10/27/17.
Caramel Apples Recipe: http://allrecipes.com/recipe/21130/caramel-apples/
Siedlecki, Piotr. “Wireless Logo”. Released into the public domain. Uploaded on 10/27/17 from publicdomainpictures.net
Microwave and molecule images property of Discovery Express Kids LLC.
“Coated Caramel Apple”. Released into the public domain under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License. Uploaded on 10/28/17 from commons.wikimedia.org