I use a microwave oven for a lot of crafting projects (heating, curing, and drying materials). This often needs to be very precise and controlled. I experiment with times and power levels. However, I run into situations like these kinds of unexpected results:
- I heat a material for 15 seconds at 50% power level and discover that it needs substantially more time. I repeat the experiment, doubling the time to 30 seconds at 50%, and get exactly the same result.
- I heat a material for 30 seconds at 20% and discover that it needs just a tiny bit more time. I repeat the experiment, increasing the time slightly to 35 seconds at 20%, and find that the material is overheated and destroyed.
This isn't flaky microwave oven performance; the results are perfectly reproducible.
What's causing such big discrepancies from the expected results?
Just for clarification, a microwave oven is really the right tool for the applications I use it for. These are generally "interactive" requirements to add small, controlled increments of heat. The issue is that when power level settings are used for short durations, the results can be radically different from what is "logical".