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Author Topic: Can one put a mercury thermometer in the microwave?  (Read 5089 times)

Offline uanna2341

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Sometimes it would be useful to monitor cooking of food in the microwave by the temperature.

Is it safe to put a mercury thermometer in the microwave?
« Last Edit: 15/03/2013 06:21:43 by CliffordK »


 

Offline CliffordK

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Re: Can I put a mercury thermometer inside a microwave?
« Reply #1 on: 07/03/2013 03:08:24 »
I wouldn't recommend it.

Mercury is a metal.

Microwaves are a little funny with metal.  Sheets of metal will tend to reflect microwaves.  However, wires, and especially points will tend to get very hot in the microwaves.  You could potentially vaporize the Mercury, and break the thermometer.

And, since mercury is toxic, you could contaminate your microwave.

If you are interested in the surface temperature you can use an IR thermometer to quickly assess the temperature once the microwave is turned off.

Some microwaves come with temperature probes, and a quick internet search will come up with a couple of microwave safe thermometers.
 

Offline Bored chemist

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Re: Can I put a mercury thermometer inside a microwave?
« Reply #2 on: 07/03/2013 19:17:52 »
"If I want to measure the temperature of the food hating by a microwave oven, can I put a mercury thermometer inside the oven?"

No
 

Offline techmind

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Re: Can one put a mercury thermometer in the microwave?
« Reply #3 on: 24/03/2013 12:32:16 »
Bad idea, as the others have said. Significant risk you'll overheat the mercury (and get an invalid reading) and you might well break the thermometer.

Don't use an electronic thermometer either as you'll probably see sparks and kill that pretty much straight-away too.
 

Offline MrVat7

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Re: Can one put a mercury thermometer in the microwave?
« Reply #4 on: 08/02/2014 02:57:14 »
No it is dangerous .
 

Offline CliffordK

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Re: Can one put a mercury thermometer in the microwave?
« Reply #5 on: 08/02/2014 06:43:27 »
As mentioned, metals can be unpredictable in microwaves, and if the mercury thermometer breaks, you would get a toxic mess.

However, alcohol thermometers would not have the same toxicity.  Looking up "Microwave Safe Thermometer" on the web, one finds an alcohol thermometer (red liquid) that is supposed to be microwave safe.

Perhaps the little plastic turkey thermometers might also work.

Some microwaves also come with built-in temperature probes. 

One issue might be whether the microwave would affect the thermometer such as heating the alcohol in your alcohol thermometer, and thus giving one a false reading.
 

Offline evan_au

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Re: Can one put a mercury thermometer in the microwave?
« Reply #6 on: 09/02/2014 03:16:22 »
The important factor in cooking is to get the interior of the food hot enough (for long enough) to reliably kill food pathogens.

So it is important to place the thermometer sensor/bulb in the deepest part of the food. Infra-Red thermometers only read the surface temperature, so you need to adjust the reading to estimate the (lower) temperature deep inside the food.
 

Offline CliffordK

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Re: Can one put a mercury thermometer in the microwave?
« Reply #7 on: 09/02/2014 08:17:24 »
Good point about the IR thermometer. 

However, does a microwave cook even enough (with a rotating platter) that the surface temperature might actually be representative of the internal temperature, or perhaps even underestimating the internal temperature as the item would tend to cool at the surface.
 

Offline syhprum

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Re: Can one put a mercury thermometer in the microwave?
« Reply #8 on: 09/02/2014 14:45:51 »
It is rather a problem to display the internal temperature of the food with a thermometer that is in place while the cooker is actually operating I can visualise a gas filled probe with a pressure measuring dial calibrated to indicate temperature all constructed of PTFE or some other temperature resistant plastic that could just about be read thru the front gauze of the machine but I don't know if such a device is available   
 

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Re: Can one put a mercury thermometer in the microwave?
« Reply #8 on: 09/02/2014 14:45:51 »

 

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