MLA Citation: Bloomfield, Louis A. "Question 1019"
How Everything Works 18 Jun 2018. 18 Jun 2018 <http://howeverythingworks.org/print1.php?QNum=1019>.
1019. Have you made RF leakage measurements on a sample of microwave ovens? I understand that the FDA requires that if measured 5 cm away from any of the oven's surfaces, the RF leakage must be less than 1 mW/cm2 for new ovens and less than 5 mW/cm2 over the oven's life time. I'm just curious what actual measurements reveal about a "typically used" oven. — S
I've measured several ovens and have only found one that leaks a measurable amount of microwave power. That leaker is an oven that I've used in countless demonstrations and have taken apart several times (it appears on page 514 of my book). Considering the abuse that poor oven has had, it's doing pretty well. At a talk I gave yesterday, I couldn't get it to leak more than about 1 mW/cm2 even though I was measuring microwave power directly on the edge of the oven door—the most vulnerable point in the oven. Given that this oven's door sags several millimeters as the result of its rough treatment, that's not bad. In short, I doubt that there are many leaky microwave ovens around that haven't been dropped, crushed in shipping, or otherwise suffered serious mechanical injury.

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