1. Introduction

1.1 Background Research (Literature Review)

Figure 1: The Electromagnetic Spectrum (NASA, n.d.)

According to Roussy and Pearce (1995),  distinct bands of microwaves are permitted by law such as 2,450 MHz for domestic purposes; 915 MHz for industrial uses and 433 MHz for medical purposes. Japan introduced the first consumer microwave oven in 1955. (Roussy and Pearce, 1995)

Rao et. al. (1995) reported that microwaves are very short waves of electromagnetic energy that travel at the speed of light (299,792,458 metres per second). A device called magnetron generates microwaves, with the flow of electrons controlled by an external magnetic field. The microwaves will reflect back and forth from the two sides of the metal oven. The wavelength of the microwaves is tuned to produce a standing wave. This is where two waves which are produced, each one goes in each direction, and they interact to make some areas where there is a huge vibration and others where there are none. There are places where the microwaves are very strong, where the molecules will be vibrated very powerfully so heated strongly. Other locations where the microwaves are weak are separated by half a wavelength. (explainthatstuff.com, 2017) Microwaves make "standing waves" that, if not accompanied by a rotating plate, will create hot spots within the medium it is hitting. (explainthatstuff.com, 2017)

Figure 2: How a Microwave Works

According to A. Einstein, wavelengths are a form electromagnetic radiation like radio waves or light waves, which make characteristic patterns as they travel through space. The distance between peaks (high points) is called a wavelength. (A. Einstein, 1920) Microwave heating is a novel method of heating which requires no conduction or convection.

1.2 Research Questions 

  • Can the microwave oven measure the speed of light accurately?
  • What is the relationship between wave speed, frequency, and wavelength?
  • How much time will the egg white take to be cooked?
  • What will our error margin be?

     1.3 Hypothesis

The hypothesis is that if light is a form of electromagnetic radiation and microwaves produce electromagnetic radiation, then we would be able to measure the speed of light approximately using a microwave. We also hypothesised that we would get less than a 1% margin error while we were doing the egg experiment.

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