Sunday, June 5, 2011

Microwave water

A 26-year-old guy 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 told me he wanted to bring the water to a boil.  When the timer shut the microwave oven off, he removed the cup from the oven. As he looked into the cup, he noted that  the water was not boiling, but instantly the water in the cup 'blew-up'  into his face.                                                          
The cup remained intact but 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 lose 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.  It is however a much safer choice to boil the water in a teakettle.     

General Electric’s (GE) 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 teabag 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.                                                         

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