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Do High-Wattage Microwaves Cook Faster?

Author: Sofia PC

Grade Level: 6th - 8th; Type: Physical Science

Objective:

This experiment is to compare the wattage of microwaves in relevance to cooking time. Cooking time will be identified with a cooking thermometer.

Research Questions:

How does a microwave work?

Today, nearly all households own a microwave. They provide ease in cooking as speeds are usually really fast and it is convenient to just pop food inside such a small appliance and have it come out ready to eat.

Materials: 

  • Microwaves of varying wattages
  • Food to cook inside the microwave oven
  • Cooking thermometer(s) – warning: do not put metallic thermometers in the microwave, if your thermometer is metallic, then you'll have to stop between increments to take the temperature
  • Pen and paper for notes

Experimental Procedure:

  1. Put some food in a microwave to cook. You should keep the food controlled. In other words, use the same food in the same amount in all of the microwaves. Note the wattage of the microwave.
  2. Set the timer to the maximum cooking time possible for your microwave. Be sure to monitor it.
  3. Take the temperature of the food in the microwave in 30-second increments. Food will be hot, please be careful when you take the temperature.
  4. When the food reaches the desired temperature, take note of the duration. Here is a chart for cooked-meat temperatures: http://whatscookingamerica.net/Information/MeatTemperatureChart.htm .
  5. Repeat steps 1-4 for all the microwaves.
  6. Evaluate your results: were microwaves with more wattage, more efficient?

Terms/Concepts:  microwave; temperature; cooking

References:

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