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Beware of chowder?

 

It all started out very innocently; I was at work on Monday and popped a bowl of clam chowder in to the microwave to reheat. 3.5 minutes, like normal. It dinged, I opened the door, reached in, putting a spoon in it to stir and BANG. There was a loud pop and the soup exploded all over me. Screaming and shrieking ensued. I spent the rest of the afternoon with ice packs and aloe. I slept with one taped to my hands. Two days later, I’m blistered and scarred, but not in pain (unless I touch it).

 

Now, I have read about this microwave phenomenon of superheating before, but I think it was just one of those silly, urban legend, spam emails. But on Snopes.com, a site dedicated to debunking urban myth they proclaimed the legend of superheating, “true, rare.”

 

http://www.snopes.com/science/microwave.asp

 

Please note the sentence that states “Odds are you’ll go through life without ever viewing this phenomenon first hand, and if you are one of the rare few who do get to see it, you will likely not be harmed by the experience.”

 

I guess I’m just that special.

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( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
(Anonymous)
Sep. 21st, 2007 09:40 pm (UTC)
RTFM strikes again!
G:
Hope you are feeling better.

It turns out that the owners manual for my Sharp microwave (model R-404J) actually warns users about the possibility of exploding liquids. On page 2, under "Important Safety Instructions", the manual states:

"17. Liquids, such as water, coffee or tea are able to be overheated beyond the boiling point without appearing to be boiling. Visible bubbling or boiling when the container is removed from the microwave oven is not always present. THIS COULD RESULT IN VERY HOT LIQUIDS SUDDENLY BOILING OVER WHEN A SPOON OR OTHER UTENSIL IS INSERTED INTO THE LIQUID. (their emphasis)

To reduce the risk of injury to persons:
a. Do not overheat the liquid.
b. Stir the liquid both before and halfway through heating it.
c. Do not use straight-sided containers with narrow necks. Use a wide-mouthed container.
d. After heating, allow the container to stand in the microwave at least for 20 seconds before removing the container.
e. Use extreme care when inserting a spoon or other utensil into the container."

Of course, I only found this information because I started going through the manual after my microwave started smoking with some sparks this morning. It turns out that my waveguide cover (see http://www.applianceaid.com/micro5.html) was not clean enough and it started sparking. The manual warns on page 6 (no, there is no similar warning on page 2!):
"Keep waveguide cover clean. Food residue can cause arcing and/or fires."

So, microwave users, beware!

Ivan
( 1 comment — Leave a comment )

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