Several different types of energy are used to cook food in a microwave oven. These include Radiant energy, Electromagnetic waves, and Dielectric heating. Let’s look at each type of energy and how it affects food. In this article, we’ll look at Radiant energy, Dielectric heating, and electricity to answer the question: What Type of Energy Cooks Food in a Microwave Oven?

Radiant energy

If you’re wondering why your microwave oven is so hot, consider that microwaves work on the principle of radiant energy. Radiant energy is energy that travels without mass and is particularly abundant in light. Light consists of individual particles called photons, each carrying a small packet of energy. This energy can travel through any substance, but it’s most common in air and sunlight. If you’re wondering how microwave ovens produce so much heat, consider that the microwave’s heating elements are able to heat food at a higher rate than the other methods.

Light is also made up of photons, and photons of lower energy are found in microwaves, radio waves, and infrared radiation. High-energy photons, on the other hand, are found in x-rays, gamma rays, and ultraviolet rays. The higher the energy level, the higher the frequency. Microwave ovens use this concept to cook food.

Electromagnetic waves

Microwaves are electromagnetic waves that pass through a food, causing it to heat up. The waves’ wavelengths are 12.2 cm, and they fall before radio waves and infrared light. These waves are produced by a magnetron, which is a hollow tube with a cylindircal cathode at its center. The other two ends of the tube are filled with cavities.

These waves are commonly used in communications and broadcasting, as well as in many industrial applications. Microwaves are also generated by broadcasting antennas, which use frequencies of 80 to 800 MHz. Cordless phones, blue tooth devices, terrestrial trunked radios, and microwave ovens are all examples of microwave-producing devices. However, these waves are also used in wireless local area networks, which operate by using a wireless connection.

These microwaves are produced by magnetrons, the same devices used in radar. These devices produce these electromagnetic waves at 2,450 MHz, and there are federal regulations that limit their radiation to 5 mW per square centimeter at two inches away from the surface of the oven. These are well below the maximum exposure level. Further, the radiation level decreases with the distance according to the inverse square law, so that if you were to stand 20 inches away from a microwave oven, the levels would drop by a factor of 100!

Dielectric heating

The process of dielectric heating is a form of heat transfer based on the motion of molecules in a material. All materials are made up of atoms and molecules that behave in an electrically dielectric way. According to a dielectric heating circuit diagram, polar molecules align themselves in one direction relative to an electric field and undergo rotations in order to remain in alignment with the field. The process of dielectric rotation is known as dielectric heating.

The process of dielectric heating in a microwave oven involves the transfer of energy from the microwave field to the medium. The energy is converted from electrical to kinetic, thermal, and ionic forms. Depending on the temperature, the loss factor of water can be reduced by a factor of 10. It also depends on whether the water is salty or non-salty. Dielectric heating is the most efficient way to heat wet or salty food.


Unlike other electric appliances, microwave ovens are powered by electricity. The electricity enters the oven through a series of fuse and safety protection circuits. The cook function, or setting the timer, extends the path of the voltage to the control circuits. A signal is generated by the control system, which drives a high-voltage transformer to raise the typical household voltage to about 3,000 volts. The microwave’s magnetron tube then converts this high voltage to electromagnetic energy, which cooks the food. This electricity is in the range of 5 to 20 AMPs.

Microwaves are highly-charged electromagnetic waves that can penetrate almost any material, including fat, protein, and glass. These waves cause the molecules of water to vibrate rapidly, producing heat. The food inside the microwave oven is cooked through this process. As a result, the microwaves in the food cook evenly. This heating process is made possible by the magnetron, which is located behind the door.