When it comes to heating food items in a microwave oven, there are certain materials that you should not be using. For instance, we all know that metal items are a big no-no. If you were to use materials that are not recommended, the microwaves will bounce back and forth, also hitting the walls, igniting whatever you are cooking. Therefore, you have to be a bit careful. The problem is that metals like steel and stainless steel are doped with chromium that reflects microwaves. Although the material is not a problem itself but if the metal happens to be crinkled, it can pose serious problems.
Metal in the Microwave
If you have ever observed the functioning of a microwave oven, you will notice there is a device that heats up the food items. That device is called a magnetron, which was basically developed and introduced by the military. This device is designed to convert electrical energy into radio waves with a typical frequency of 2.5 gigahertz. As food items contain water molecules, fat, and sugar, the microwaves interact with them and cause them to vibrate at the same frequency. As a result, it is the molecules that vibrate, causing your foot to heat.
Moreover, in technical terms, microwaves do not have any effect on metal items. As a result, the microwaves do not produce an electric charge on metal items. And since the molecules present in the piece of metal tend to be too closely bound, they do not respond by vibrating to molecules. However, the problem is that metal reflects microwaves. To tackle that issue, microwave manufacturers make the walls of the oven with the same material so that the radiation is kept confined to the oven.
If two metal objects are placed inside the microwave open, the microwaves will simply go crazy, generate extreme heat, and end up igniting anything inside the oven. This is why it is never suggested to use crinkled tin foil as it can actually burn. Furthermore, forks are not recommended as well since the energy passing through the tines can generate a lot of heat that might result in the production of sparks and lightning crackles.
What About Stainless Steel?
While placing two metal objects inside a microwave often calls for potential damage, many users question steel vessels in microwave oven. As mentioned earlier, stainless steel or simple steel has a layer of chromium oxide on its surface that prevents it from corrosion. However, if you were to ignore that, stainless steel is nothing different than regular steel when it comes to heating food items in your oven. Therefore, if you were to place a flat sheet of stainless steel on the surface of the oven, it will not pose any problems. However, if you were to use a stainless steel fork, expect things to become seriously hot inside the oven
Should You Do It?
If you intend to use stainless steel or certain metal objects in the microwave oven and are not sure about it, then it is best that you don’t. Stainless steel as mentioned previously does not pose any problems as long as it is lying flat on the bottom of the oven. If it happens to be too close to the walls, it can generate serious heat. Plus, utensils other than forks tend to be safe. The reason is that spoons do not have any areas such as the tines of a fork to allow energy to pass. Always consult the user’s manual if you are skeptical about using certain materials.
Concluding, when it comes to using steel vessels in your microwave oven, it is all about how you place and what type of materials you use. It is better to keep the steel or stainless objects away from the walls. Plus, do not use any type of utensils such as forks. Then again, it is not the materials themselves that pose a problem but the way a user tends to place them inside a microwave oven. Since microwaves bounce inside the oven, anything too close will cause extreme heat generation and might even cause the oven to catch heat.