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Microwave Efficiency. Larry Moore ME 340 Fall 2010. Goal. Find the best place to put your food in the microwave for optimal energy transfer. Method.

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Microwave efficiency

Microwave Efficiency

Larry Moore

ME 340

Fall 2010


Find the best place to put your food in the microwave for optimal energy transfer


Use a “Kill-A-Watt” meter to measure power to the microwave and a thermocouple to measure water temperature increase, then calculate the efficiency


Assume only microwave energy transfer, ignore any other forms of heat transfer

Results explained
Results Explained

  • The emitter is in the back right side of the microwave unit. Objects placed in front of the emitter heat the fastest.

  • An object placed in front of the emitter will absorb a great deal of the microwave energy and prevent other objects from heating.

  • For the above reasons, the turntable promotes even heating by effectively spreading the microwave energy across the items being heated.

  • The microwave is more efficient when there is more surface area to absorb the radiation.


  • Interestingly, the microwave requires the same power to run no matter how much is in it

  • When the microwave is empty, most of the microwave energy is absorbed by the glass plate

  • Special thanks to Kevin Cole for the equipment