You are on page 1of 24

Page 1 of 24

The Incident
This fire involved a microwave. The fire was somewhat limited to the microwave and some surrounding
cabinets, but did a significant amount of smoke and other damage.

The Issue
Discuss the conclusions you can draw by examining the available evidence from the microwave. Also,
discuss what other things, if any, might be reasonable to undertake to continue the examination of this
microwave. Be as specific as you can on what you might do.

The Reason
The client wants to understand the meaning of the evidence and decide how to proceed. How would
you proceed and why? What is the value of the additional evidence you expect to discover.

The Report
Use all of your available knowledge to draw some conclusions about the fire, its origin, and its cause. Of
course, you want to do this within that evidence for which you can form a basis for an opinion and draw
conclusions. Please remember to do just that – draw conclusions! Discuss the issues, any applicable
rules to the analysis of those issues, perform the analysis, and come to conclusions or explain the
additional information you need. Note that I have not told you which side your client is on to help you
ignore any potential pressure that might put on you to head in one direction or another.
Page 2 of 24

Figure 1

Figure 2
Page 3 of 24

Figure 3

Figure 4
Page 4 of 24

Figure 5

Figure 6
Page 5 of 24

Figure 7

Figure 8
Page 6 of 24

Figure 9

Figure 10
Page 7 of 24

Figure 11

Figure 12
Page 8 of 24

Figure 13

Figure 14
Page 9 of 24

Figure 15

Figure 16
Page 10 of 24

Figure 17

Figure 18
Page 11 of 24

Figure 19

Figure 20
Page 12 of 24

Figure 21

Figure 22
Page 13 of 24

Figure 23

Figure 24
Page 14 of 24

Figure 25

Figure 26
Page 15 of 24

Figure 27

Figure 28
Page 16 of 24

Figure 29

Figure 30
Page 17 of 24

Figure 31

Figure 32
Page 18 of 24

Figure 33
Page 19 of 24

These pictures provide additional information not actually necessary for producing the report, but
helpful in understanding the microwave.

The round device shown in Figure 18 is a small motor that drives a wave stirrer. The rectangular object is
a wave guide. Some explanation of this particular microwave’s approach to heating may assist in the
understanding of these objects.

Microwave energy is essentially line‐of‐site. That is, it is generally considered to travel in a straight line
from its production. It does also reflect, but that is somewhat incidental. This microwave oven produces
microwaves through the magnetron. The magnetron is shown in various views in Figures 1‐4. You did
not previously have photos of the magnetron.

The magnetron is installed with the emitter facing up on the right side of the microwave in the controls
area. This is shown in figures 9 & 10. The produced microwaves travel along the waveguide above the
microwave chamber to essentially the top, center of the oven chamber. The creation and tuning of the
waveguide follows the same physics as production of radio waves.

At the entry into the oven, there is a “wave stirrer” driven by an electric motor, previously mentioned.
On the other end of the motor shaft is the “stirrer.” The stirrer chamber is shown in Figure 7 with the
mica covering and stirrer removed. The stirrer is shown in Figure 8. The idea of the stirrer is to produce
bouncing and reflection of the microwaves in order to more evenly heat the food in the oven chamber.
Otherwise, there would tend to be a hot spot in the center of the oven equating to most of the
microwave energy coming out of the waveguide.

The rectifier and power transistor for the unit are shown in figures 5 & 6. They would have also been
mounted in the control area.
Page 20 of 24

Figure 34

Figure 35
Page 21 of 24

Figure 36

Figure 37
Page 22 of 24

Figure 38

Figure 39
Page 23 of 24

Figure 40

Figure 41
Page 24 of 24

Figure 42

Figure 43