The Science That Proves Making Your Tea In The Microwave Is A Truly Appalling Act

If you’ve ever had a furious debate about the ungodly act of microwaving your cup of tea and how “it’s the same” as boiling the kettle, you’re about to lose — not only to Britain but to science.

Researchers have explained the process your zapped cuppa goes through in a new study published in the American Institute of Physics’ peer-reviewed online journal AIP Advances, and why you might not be getting the best results from making it this way over the traditional kettle/stove method.

The study, conducted by researchers at the University of Electronic Science and Technology of China, looked at how heating liquid works in a microwave, and how the electric field that acts as a warming source causes the liquid to end up different temperatures at the top and bottom of the cup. A good cup of tea is all about getting uniform temperature throughout your water and, though many scholars have studied uniformity and how to solve it within the microwave itself, these researchers have offered up a different possible solution (more on that later).

Typically, the study describes, if you’re warming a liquid like water on the stove or within a kettle, the heating source warms the container from below. This is when a process called convection happens, when the liquid at the bottom of the container warms up, diminishes in density, and moves to the top, letting the remaining cooler liquid to get access to the sweet, sweet heating source below. This results in even, uniform temperature throughout the container.


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