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Thermodynamics/water and microwaves


Dear Richard, apologies if this question is not appropriate to you. I am 43 years old.
Water boils at 100 degrees c. When I place something in boiling water, even rapidly boiling water I see the effect on the thing placed. When I boil water in the microwave oven and place, say a teabag, into the boiling water there is a more violent reaction to the thing placed in. If it can't be the temperature, then what is different about the boiling water as a result of microwaves that cuases such a visibly different reaction to something like a teabag? Sincere thanks.

When you put a tea kettle or pan of water on the stove, the water gets heated by thermal conductivity from the stove element.  In a microwave the water molecules are agitated by the microwaves.  The microwave frequency corresponds to the natural vibration frequency of a water molecule.  That's why you can't heat anything in microwave oven that doesn't contain water.  I suspect the tea bag makes a slight difference in the interaction of the microwaves.  


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Richard J. Raridon


Any in general physics category


Have taught general physics several years

MA in physics

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