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I didn't know this and you may not either

ProfilePosted byOptionsPost Date


AnninGlos Report 13 Feb 2014 14:21

Re Microwaves heating water.

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 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 Electrics 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 vaporous 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.

**Stella ~by~ Starlight**★..★..★

**Stella ~by~ Starlight**★..★..★ Report 13 Feb 2014 14:29

i knew about it Ann, but i think many others probably do is very dangerous to heat water in the microwave..

Your post will enlighten quite a few people i think..



AnninGlos Report 13 Feb 2014 14:35

I am pretty sure I have never heated water myself although I do heat other liquids, but never for longer than 2 minutes.

Shirley~I,m getting the hang of it

Shirley~I,m getting the hang of it Report 13 Feb 2014 15:40

Something that should be in the leaflets with any microwave

I dont like water based coffee and through trial and error have perfected the method.

I use a Pyrex mug and skimmed milk and heat it in my 650 microwave for 1min 30.

I then mix in a small teaspoon of coffee and its good to go

Would never go back to water based coffee


Bobtanian Report 13 Feb 2014 16:19

truly a dangerous happening....

it is similar occurrence when boiling water to cook rice/pasta,I always sprinkle a few grains in first before adding the bulk of the rice/pasta to take off the boiling over effect.
likewise super cooled water looks liquid until its shaken or a foreign body is placed in it.......then instantly freezes over


AnninGlos Report 13 Feb 2014 16:57

Who is that in your avatar Bob?


eRRolSheep Report 13 Feb 2014 17:16

Although a timely warning, this "story" has been around on the internet since at least 2005 and the veracity of the actual incident has been called into some doubt, including the science teacher and the response from General Electrics (sic).

Nevertheless, it is sound advice and it is a shame that anecdotal stories such as this can blur the line somewhat between fact and fiction.


Elizabeth2469049 Report 13 Feb 2014 17:34

The only time I use the microwave to boil water as such is in the egg poacher - with a lid, then put the egg on and cook with the steam, But I heat other things that have water in them like soup, and sometimes coffee


Bobtanian Report 13 Feb 2014 18:19

'Tis I,
Ann........on the left, with the hair!!


Merlin Report 13 Feb 2014 21:23

They used to use Superheated Water/ Steam in Destroyers and MTBs many years ago,before Microwaves, Thats probably where the Idea of them came about,from General Electrics.


AnninGlos Report 13 Feb 2014 22:23

Thanks Bob. I shan't delete it, anecdotal or not it is good advice.


maggiewinchester Report 13 Feb 2014 23:03

I have to admit, I've never heard it - but I never heat water in the microwave!
However I shall see if my daughters are aware.


Dame*Shelly*("\(*o*)/") Report 13 Feb 2014 23:22

is this not why we have to stirre befor and during heating
and cover with cling film


GlasgowLass Report 14 Feb 2014 00:11

About once a week I place a bowl of water containing lemon slices in the microwave.
I let it boil for about 2 mins and leave it to cool slightly

This it how I have always cleaned the microwave.... from the steam that is produced from the boiling/bubbling water.
This was the cleaning instruction for my first microwave oven and I still use this method


LadyScozz Report 14 Feb 2014 00:39

Two minutes to heat a cup of water?

Our microwave takes 35-40 seconds.

It is recommended that you don't put a teaspoon in the water for a little while, because that may cause the water to boil over.

Glasgow lass... I clean the microwave that way too, I also add a drop of vanilla essence.............. I think even the vanilla spray cleaner could be a bit dodgy.