The effects of container materials on food microwave heat times

(1) Hinsdale Central High School, Hinsdale, Illinois
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The purpose of this study was to determine which material of container heats food the fastest in the microwave: plastic, glass, or ceramic. By finding out this information, microwave cooking times could be shortened, which would reduce money spent on electricity bills since the microwave would be running for less time. To conduct this study, a set amount of water and Campbell’s condensed tomato soup were heated in the microwave in a cup and a bowl of the various materials. After heating, the temperature change (°F) was measured and averaged for each container. We hypothesized that a plastic container would cause the food to heat the fastest because plastic is often not as thick as glass and ceramic. We observed that the ceramic cup and the glass bowl heated the fastest in their respective categories for both the water and tomato soup. Additionally, we also noted that bowls heated water and tomato soup faster than the cups. This implies that there are other factors that affect the heating times of food in the microwave, such as container surface area and mass. In conclusion, the data collected supports that there is a significant difference in cooking times between the different container materials that food is microwaved in.

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