MLA Citation: Bloomfield, Louis A. "Question 1490"
How Everything Works 11 Dec 2017. 11 Dec 2017 <http://howeverythingworks.org/print1.php?QNum=1490>.
1490. I thought microwave ovens were sealed shut to keep the waves inside. Why then can you smell the food as it is being cooked? - E
The cooking chamber of a microwave oven has mesh-covered holes to permit air to enter and exit. The holes in the metal mesh are small enough that the microwaves themselves cannot pass through and are instead reflected back into the cooking chamber. However, those holes are large enough that air (or light in the case of the viewing window) can pass through easily. Sending air through the cooking chamber keeps the cooking chamber from turning into a conventional hot oven and it carries food smells out into the kitchen.

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