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Radiative heat transfer and states of matter

  1. Aug 14, 2007 #1
    I noticed that my tea heats up faster than the cup it's in when I microwave it... how come? aren't solids more conductive? Also... I was wondering how the notion of vibrating atoms/electrons (heat) squares with quantum mechanics, probability waves and such?
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2007
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 14, 2007 #2


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    Staff: Mentor

    The frequency of the 2.4GHz RF that is used in microwave ovens was chosen because it is absorbed/heats water molecules very effectively. The plastic of the cup has no water molecules or metal particles, and so it doesn't absorb much of the RF energy.
  4. Aug 14, 2007 #3
    thank you, that explains the tea observation
    it's a porcelain cup (opaque), I don't think that matters
    in any case, I see... but excluding the different absorption bias' of the various molecules, if a solid, a liquid, and a gas were heated via radiation... the solid should heat up the fastest, right?
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2007
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