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I am working on an experiment that involves 50-250W of microwave radiation. The antenna will be inside a small vacuum chamber (~2ft Dia x 3ft long) with ~1.5" steel walls. There are a handful of small (~4" Dia) plexiglass windows.

My question is this:

Is there a safety concern?

More specifically:

Will the tank shield the microwaves?

At what power do microwaves become dangerous?

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Is adding mesh or perforated plate outside the windows feasible? \$\endgroup\$ – user_1818839 Jul 27 '20 at 20:05
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    \$\begingroup\$ 50W is already dangerous for your eyes... I would invest in a microwave detector. \$\endgroup\$ – MadHatter Jul 27 '20 at 20:09
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    \$\begingroup\$ You'll need to not only put a suitably sized conductive mesh over the windows, but take time to understand the challenges of electrically connecting it to the chamber, or understand and copy the quarter wave transformer trick employed by microwave oven door seals. You might also consider shielding the entire apparatus and operating it from outside that enclosure. Really though you must get someone with some actual relevant experience involved in the design of this experiment \$\endgroup\$ – Chris Stratton Jul 27 '20 at 20:23
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    \$\begingroup\$ No, vacuum does not block radio waves. And yes... get a detector. Then you can test your experiment at a very low power level, and see if there are any leaks. \$\endgroup\$ – user253751 Jul 27 '20 at 20:38
  • \$\begingroup\$ I got a radar unit commissioned-1944. I never was able to properly power the unit at home: no way at 100s of kW. It's range was 200 miles (so the plate said.) I learned from the officer who gave it to me that they would have a tech stand out on deck and raise their hand into the beam to see if the waveguide was working properly and emitting. The hand would warm up, if getting close enough to test it further. Today, we'd consider that "insane." But in 1973 we used a 200 watt klystron in a high school classroom and irradiated ourselves to measure crystal diffraction. I wouldn't advise even that. \$\endgroup\$ – jonk Jul 27 '20 at 21:51

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