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The Electromagnetic Spectrum

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The Electromagnetic Spectrum

The Electromagnetic spectrum is made up from several different types of wave. These are:

Long wavelengths        RADIO WAVES

                                Long wave radio

                                Medium wave radio

Short wave radio













Short wavelengths        GAMMA RAYS

Radio waves have the longest wavelengths of the spectrum, and the most varied. Some

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Microwaves are most commonly known for their use in microwave ovens, but they are also used for communications, satellites and many other things. The microwaves have quite short wavelengths, so they are easily absorbed by water. In a microwave oven, the waves are absorbed by the water in the food, and their energy is converted to heat energy. This helps to quickly and effectively cook the food. Exposure to highly concentrated microwaves can be dangerous as the same could happen to a human. This was a serious problem when microwave ovens were first used, although their design has now improved to prevent this happening. There is concern that the microwaves used in mobile phones could have a damaging effect on people brains, because of their concentration and short wavelength.

Next in the spectrum are infrared rays.

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The last type of wave in the electromagnetic spectrum is a gamma ray. These rays have even higher energy than X-rays do. They can even pass through metal, which means they can be use to check for hairline cracks in metal structures, for example aeroplane wings, where this would be very important. Like X-rays and UV rays, gamma rays can be used to kill cancerous cells in the body. However, very serious safety precautions must be taken when using these types of rays, as they can harm people very badly, and also cause cancer.

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This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Radioactivity section.

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