How Everything Works
How Everything Works How Everything Works

Question 1142

When two identical items are cooked, one with a microwave oven and the other on the stove, which will cool faster? — CR
If the distributions of temperatures inside the items were the same after cooking, they would cool at the same rate. However, a microwave oven tends to cook relatively evenly throughout the food while the stove tends to cook from the outside of the food inward. That means that food cooked in a microwave oven tends to have more thermal energy near its center than food cooked on a stove, even when those foods contain the same total amount of thermal energy. Since foods lose heat through their surfaces, the extra thermal energy in the food cook by microwave will take longer to flow out to the surface of the food and from there to its surroundings. All else being equal, I would expect the food cooked in the microwave oven to cool slightly slower than the food cooked on the stovetop.

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