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Author Topic: What objects should you not put in the microwave?  (Read 17706 times)

Offline rap sheet

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When you microwave something, you input energy into its molecules. This can produce heat and stimulate a chemical reaction. This is great, if you are cooking food. Other materials donít produce a favorable result. Hereís a list of things you shouldnít microwave and why. Actually, some are foods. Where possible, I included links to videos (screened for language and ads) so you can see what happens. If youíre like me, youíre curious, but donít want to destroy your own appliance or poison yourself with noxious vapors.

CDs - Soooo pretty! The coating makes the sparks. If you nuke a cd, youíll get an awesome sparkler-like display, but you run the risk of a fire. Obviously, the cd will never work again. I would presume the vapors from the burning polymer are toxic.

Grapes - I donít think you can make raisins this way. Your grapes will ignite, even though they are mostly water. Itís a decent way to see the state of matter known as plasma, but you can ruin your appliance once the water from the grapes evaporates.

Toothpicks or Matches - This is another example of plasma or ball lightning that can destroy your appliance. If you absolutely have to see charged plasma, get yourself a plasma lamp.

Soap - Ok, maybe you should try this one. You get a cascade of bubbles. Very cool, decent chance of microwave survival, plus the soap is already inside for clean-up. Note that Ivoryô was used, which is actual soap. Other brands may not work as well. Another interesting note: the bubbly cloud that results has been tested and remains ísoapí. Apparently when you microwave soap, the water boils and forms soap bubbles. Heat causes air in the bubbles to expand. When the microwave stops, the soap re-solidifies.

Hot Peppers - My mom once sent me for some dried hot peppers from the shop. She recommended nuking them for a few seconds to make sure they were dehydrated before storing them. UmÖ donít! The capsaicin (chemical that is Ďhotí) is volatile. Your eyes will sting, your throat will burn. OhÖ and the peppers may catch fire. I donít have a video, since there is nothing to see. Donít microwave any chemical you wouldnít want released into the air. Donít microwave dry materials.

(Dry) Kitchen Sponges - If you nuke a wet sponge for 2 minutes, it will disinfect it (though it will stink up your kitchen). If you nuke a dry sponge, it will ignite. The WebMD article doesnít state this, but they should have: be sure you rinsed any cleaners out of your sponge if you intend to microwave it.

    * Lightbulb - Donít do it. Even worse than this incandescent bulb would be a fluorescent bulb, because that would release toxic mercury vapors. Yeah, it might look cool, but microwaving these represents a real health hazard. Mercury vapor doesnít float out your window and vanish. Even worse, a microwave usually is located near food or surfaces used to prepare food. Lead is another toxic element that can be released from microwaving a lightbulb.
« Last Edit: 14/02/2009 11:25:01 by chris »


 

Offline Chemistry4me

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Re: What objects should you not put in the microwave?
« Reply #1 on: 14/02/2009 08:48:20 »
I like how you've used the word 'nuke' and other related nuking words. :)
 

Offline rap sheet

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Re: What objects should you not put in the microwave?
« Reply #2 on: 14/02/2009 08:55:21 »
i though u can understand but no use!! Of writting nuke
 

Offline Chemistry4me

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Re: What objects should you not put in the microwave?
« Reply #3 on: 14/02/2009 08:58:39 »
Sorry? What do you mean?
 

Offline Karen W.

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Re: What objects should you not put in the microwave?
« Reply #4 on: 14/02/2009 09:34:10 »



i though u can understand but no use!! Of writting nuke

We DO understand! You did fine!
Writing Nuke is ok.. that's what we say in our house in terms of microwaving our foods and liquids..

 There was  NO offense intended toward you and you did an excellent job posting your thread..
 

Offline Chemistry4me

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Re: What objects should you not put in the microwave?
« Reply #5 on: 14/02/2009 11:14:35 »
Yeah man, no offense intended. :)
 

lyner

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What objects should you not put in the microwave?
« Reply #6 on: 14/02/2009 23:41:46 »
You might include all convenience foods is your list, too. They'll get to you in the end.
Microwaving is excellent for so many fresh veg and for defrosting stuff - not for TV dinners and the like.
 

Offline techmind

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What objects should you not put in the microwave?
« Reply #7 on: 15/02/2009 12:01:20 »
As I understand it, many of the things you aren't supposed to do with a microwave are only really an issue as there's little to actually absorb the microwaves ... so they bounce around and dump all the energy in the magnetron - causing it to overheat.

Putting one grape, or 1 CD in the microwave, for example is very unlikely to absorb 700W of energy. You get away with it provided you only do it for 20-30 seconds, but it's not really recommended. When I've put a CD in a microwave I have put a mug of water in there too, to absorb the energy.

Any sealed item, from a lightbulb to an egg runs the risk of exploding.


A student friend of mine once bought an extremely cheap microwave oven specifically to abuse. Needless to say, he declined the saleman's insistence that he bought an extended warrantee!

Re microwaving kitchen sponges
On 24 Jan 2007 the BBC News website (along with many others across the world) published a story about sterlising sponges (or maybe it was tea-towels) in a microwave oven. As soon as I saw it I emailed them to say that this was a bad idea, and not advice you should give to the general public. I had no reply, but by 4pm there was another story of a woman whose microwave had caught fire after she followed their earlier suggestions...

I think the orignal story was pulled - I can't find it. Here's a a couple of followups:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/6293735.stm
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/tees/6301893.stm

This was a fine example of irresponsible journalism.
A Google search for news microwave sponge cloth will give some idea of the ensuing trouble!
« Last Edit: 15/02/2009 12:16:57 by techmind »
 

Offline Don_1

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What objects should you not put in the microwave?
« Reply #8 on: 16/02/2009 12:13:39 »
Can I presume that Rap Sheet now has a rap sheet which includes 'Destruction of several microwave ovens'?

Go on mate, wreck another one, put in half a dozen eggs....... Why not? In for a penny, in for a pound.
 

Offline dentstudent

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What objects should you not put in the microwave?
« Reply #9 on: 16/02/2009 12:20:12 »
Dry the hair on your poodle. Or is that an urban legend?
 

Offline BenV

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What objects should you not put in the microwave?
« Reply #10 on: 16/02/2009 13:52:40 »
Soap - Ok, maybe you should try this one. You get a cascade of bubbles. Very cool, decent chance of microwave survival, plus the soap is already inside for clean-up. Note that Ivoryô was used, which is actual soap. Other brands may not work as well. Another interesting note: the bubbly cloud that results has been tested and remains ísoapí. Apparently when you microwave soap, the water boils and forms soap bubbles. Heat causes air in the bubbles to expand. When the microwave stops, the soap re-solidifies.

We've done this several times whilst science busking - it's a very neat effect.  BUT - it's likely that your microwave will stink of soap for weeks to come.  Dave's stunt microwave still reeks of it now, despite us not having microwaved any soap for months!
 

Ethos

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What objects should you not put in the microwave?
« Reply #11 on: 11/12/2009 16:53:55 »
Simple answer: Unless you intend to eat it, don't put it in the micro-wave!
.....................Ethos
 

Offline SeanB

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What objects should you not put in the microwave?
« Reply #12 on: 11/12/2009 18:21:13 »
There is one light source intended for use in a microwave - the sulfur lamp. It is powered by a slightly modified microwave oven ( mostly extra cooling as it will run essentially 24 hours a day in most cases) and is one light source where the lamp will almost invariably outlast the power source ( along with induction lamps). It heats the small amount of solid sulfur sealed inside a glass sphere until it ionises and emits a brilliant white light. Used in the Smithsonian museum to light the main hall via a light pipe to distribute the light evenly.

Generally microwave only food if you intend to use the oven again to ever heat edibles, as it is near impossible to ensure that any harmful vapour or particles emitted by doing other experiments are removed from the interior and the cooling path.

 

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What objects should you not put in the microwave?
« Reply #12 on: 11/12/2009 18:21:13 »

 

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