Microwaving water!

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terambulan | 01:56 Sun 12th Apr 2009 | Food & Drink
14 Answers
Microwaving water!

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 mayalso have lost partial sight in his left eye. While at the hospital, the doctor who was attending to him said 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).

Electric Co. response:

Microwaved water and other liquids do not always bubble when they reach the 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 our local 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 anytime water is heated and will particularly occur if the vessel that the water is heated in is new,


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Unlike many e-mails, this one is true as Snopes confirms It's recommended that something non-metallic is put in the water.
I have never had a problem when I have re-heated a mug of coffee which has gone cold.
Yep its quite true, I posted on here a while ago cos one of my lads heated some milk in the microwave to make some hot chocolate, it was fine til he popped a spoon in to stir it then it bubbled up and erupted over the sides of the mug!
Luckily he wasn't hurt, and after I showed him the answers on here its been back to the old reliable saucepan for heating milk!
Btw, he's 18, wouldn't want you to think I was letting a young un loose with hot milk!
I'm always reheating cups of coffee - thanks.
Question Author
1 minute or so is ok - but still risky as it depends on quantity. I re-heat coffee often but will have to stop now!
Is there anything we can do day to day for the safety brigade.

I get p!ssed off with the H&S people telling us how to live our lives, let us live our lives as we want to live, not as you want.
Just to add terambulan,

I don't believe you typed your long Q, I think you copied a pasted it from the internet, so stop preaching how we should live our lives, we are grown up.
For some reason the link to Snopes does not work but anyway it says the odds are you'll not see it happen. If you think about it, if it's that risky and with so many microwave ovens in the world, how come we don't know about it already?
Question Author're right I did paste it from an email and am not preaching.....I was unaware of the dangers and am only warning, for safety sake.

I would have felt awful if I had read that someone had such an accident when this missive could have prevented it.
TCL - you appear to have placed a full stop at the end of the link URI.
AH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! that explains it...
I've experienced this, thankfully not to this degree though.
In my instance the cup of water exploded and blew the door open.
Thanks for the warning terambulan. I often reheat a cup of coffee but usually only for one minute, I'll know to stick to this time in future.

Ps, what the hell does it matter that this was copy and pasted. xxx
Thanks terambulan, didn't know this, often put the micro on and walk away for ages.

Will be careful out there in future.

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