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#783683 - 7th Apr 2013 10:39am IMPORTANT SAFETY NOTICE
venice Offline

Forum Master

Registered: 21st Jul 2011
Posts: 2748
Loc: Wirral
Many of you will know this information already , but as its been sent to me by my health and safety relative, I have promised to pass it on just incase it saves someone from a nasty accident.

Its been checked out on Snopes and appears to be true.



Subject: Boiling water in microwave


A 26-year old man decided to have a cup of coffee. He took a cup of water and put it in the microwave to heat it up (something that he had done numerous times before). I am not sure how long he set the timer for, but 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, but suddenly the water in the cup 'blew up' into his face. The cup remained intact until he threw it out of his hand, but all the water had flown out into 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 also may 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 should be placed in the cup to diffuse the energy such as a wooden stir stick, tea bag, etc, (nothing metal).

General Electric's Response:

Thanks for contacting us; I will be happy to assist you. The e-mail that you received is correct. Microwaved water and other liquids do not always bubble when they reach boiling point. They can actually get superheated and not bubble at all. The superheated liquid will bubble up out of the cup when it is moved or when something like a spoon or tea bag is put into it.

To prevent this from happening and causing injury, do not heat any liquid for more than two minutes per cup. After heating, let the cup stand in the microwave for thirty seconds before moving it or adding anything into it.

Here is what a local high school science teacher had 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, or when heating a small amount of water (less than half a cup).

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.

If you pass this on, you could very well save someone from a lot of pain and suffering.

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#783685 - 7th Apr 2013 10:47am Re: IMPORTANT SAFETY NOTICE [Re: venice]
muffermurphy Offline
Beginner

Registered: 8th Mar 2012
Posts: 5
Loc: wirral
there's a new fangled invention called the kettle out now.
give it a try laugh

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#783688 - 7th Apr 2013 10:54am Re: IMPORTANT SAFETY NOTICE [Re: venice]
Sallybear Offline
Smartchild

Registered: 5th Apr 2009
Posts: 587
Loc: Wirral
Nearly every microwave cooking instructions require you to let things stand. There is a reason for this. Also it never hurts to stir something while it is cooking in the microwave, if something was cooked in a pan you would do this, ok not water perhaps but anything else.

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#783695 - 7th Apr 2013 11:07am Re: IMPORTANT SAFETY NOTICE [Re: venice]
kittykat Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 1st Jan 2011
Posts: 168
Loc: Just here
You have a designated health & safety relative? seeyu

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#783700 - 7th Apr 2013 11:31am Re: IMPORTANT SAFETY NOTICE [Re: kittykat]
venice Offline

Forum Master

Registered: 21st Jul 2011
Posts: 2748
Loc: Wirral
Ha! ---our original one was called 'mother in law'

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#783720 - 7th Apr 2013 1:21pm Re: IMPORTANT SAFETY NOTICE [Re: venice]
Blueskier Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 22nd Mar 2013
Posts: 194
Loc: Wallasey
This has been well known for some time. If you put something like a wooden stick in the water while it is heating it wont happen. Something about agitating the air in the water.

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#783775 - 7th Apr 2013 4:59pm Re: IMPORTANT SAFETY NOTICE [Re: venice]
beanie65 Offline
Member

Registered: 21st Dec 2012
Posts: 70
Loc: wirral
Here's a link to an experiment done on myth busters.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1_OXM4mr_i0

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