Trick reveals if your microwave is leaking radiation

A series of experiments show how data and Wi-Fi signals can pass through the oven's protective casing, proving small amounts of microwave energy can escape. Photo / Getty
A series of experiments show how data and Wi-Fi signals can pass through the oven's protective casing, proving small amounts of microwave energy can escape. Photo / Getty

From your kitchen at home to the one at work, in school tuck shops, cafes and bars, microwaves are a staple appliance in most cooking spaces.

But it may panic some fans of the speedy cooker to learn the radiation in a microwave oven isn't as contained as we think.

A video has revealed a simple way to work out if your microwave is "leaking".

Created by US YouTuber Physics Girl, the video shows various attempts to call cellphones that have been placed in microwaves.

Physics Girl, otherwise known as Dianna Cowern, explains that the phones that do pick up signals and begin ringing demonstrate that the microwave's protective casing is not impervious to radiation, because the phone signals can pass through it.

In addition to the phones ringing with standard signal, they were also able to receive FaceTime calls over Wi-Fi when inside the microwaves.

A series of experiments also show how data and Wi-Fi signals can pass through the oven's protective casing, further proving small amounts of microwave energy can escape.

Cowern deduces that the casing in some microwaves are not perfect Faraday cages, which use mesh to block electromagnetic wavelengths.

Using a signal receiver, she demonstrates how small amounts of "micro waves" can escape from the oven when it's running, but in low amounts which fall below safety concerns.

The video also shows how in an effective Faraday cage, when a mobile phone is shut inside, it is unable to receive calls, proving that the signals are indeed blocked.

According to Cowern: "The results of the experiment depended on the microwave, but there were some things I didn't keep constant, such as the age of the microwave, where it was in the house or how close it was to a cellular tower.

"So these things might have affected the results of the experiments".

The YouTuber added that there may have also been a hole in the protective mesh in the door of the microwave which allowed some wavelengths to pass through and blocked others. However, she says these "should be smaller than the wavelength of the frequencies you're trying to block".

Numerous experiments have dispelled concerns that microwaves cause irradiation in food or that they can lead to mutations and cancer.

And from Cowern's experiment, she concludes even if your microwave is leaking, it's unlikely to do you harm.

- nzherald.co.nz

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