View Full Version : Warning About Water in the Microwave

04-16-2004, 04:34 AM
I found this to be interesting, I think everyone should read this:

I was very glad to get this email from a friend, because I have been guilty of heating water in a microwave many times. You'll be glad you read it. I also suggest passing it along to friends and family.

About five days ago, my 26 year old son decided to have a cup of instant cofee. He took a cup of water and put it in the microwave to heat it up (something he had done numerous times before). I am not sure how long he set the time for but he told me he wanted to bring the water to a boil.

When the timer shut the oven off, he removed the cup from the oven.

As he looked into the cup, he noted that the water was not boiling.

Then instantly the water in the cup "blew up" in his face.

the cup remained intact until he threw it out of his hand but all the water had flown out onto his face due to the build-up of energy.

His whole face is blistered and he has 1st and 2nd degree burns to his face, which may leave scarring. He may also have lost partial sight in his left eye.

While at the hospital, the doctor who was attending to him stated that this is a fairly common occurrence and water (alone) should never be heated in a microwave oven. If water is heated in this manner, something such as a wooden stir stick or a tea bag should be placed in the cup to diffuse the energy.

Here is what our science teacher has to say on the matter:

"Thanks for the microwave warning. I have seen this happen before. It is caused by a phenomenon known as super heating. It can occur any time water is heated and will particularly occur if the vessel that the water is heated in is new. What happens is that the water heats faster than the vapor bubbles can form. If the cup is very new then it is unlikely to have small surface scratches inside it that provide a place for the bubbles to form.

As the bubbles cannot form and release some of the heat that has built up, the liquid does not boil, and the liquid continues to heat up well past its boiling point. What then usually happens is that the liquid is bumped or jarred, which is just enough of a shock to cause the bubbles to rapidly form and expel the hot liquid. The rapid formation of bubbles is also why a carbonated beverage spews when opened after having been shaken. <hr /></blockquote>

This was very surprising when I read it. Try to pass it around to people you know.

04-16-2004, 05:40 AM
Watched a show regarding this. Showed some slow motion examples. Was surprising at first. I definately dont boil any water in the microwave anymore unless I have something in it. The show showed a person boiling water to make some pasta. Then after opening up the microwave, stuck a spoon into it, and BHAM...it was all over.....

Nice read./

04-16-2004, 07:00 AM
I have had flash ups after heating water, but I'm still gonna heat water in the microwave. It's like hooking up battery cables on your car battery...gotta have a bit of added procedure, but it's way to convenient use the oven to zap water not to do it(IMO.) Good article though...sid

04-16-2004, 07:27 AM
Snopes is the place to go to check out "urban legends" and myths. If you receive an email that you don't know whether to believe or not, snopes is the place to go to see if it's true:


(They say this is true.)

Cueless Joey
04-16-2004, 08:01 AM
I know this offhand.
A cup nearly blew up in my face. Good thing it wasn't that hot.
I did blow an egg inside the micro one time. Never boil an egg in the micro. A friend of my mom's daughter accidentally placed a metal inside the micro. It exploded and she was hospitalized.

04-16-2004, 10:13 AM
Mythbusters recently did this on thier show. They concluded that it is indeed possible but unlikely in the real world.

Mythbusters is an awesome show, I recommend you check it out.

04-16-2004, 08:25 PM
The moral of the story is to not drink instant coffee. /ccboard/images/graemlins/smile.gif


04-17-2004, 08:24 AM
That is one seriously great show!! Those guys must have a blast being paid to prove some seriously stupid myths!