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Exploding Water in the Microwave

Exploding Water in the Microwave

This is not an experiment but rather a warning to help you avoid a potential disaster. The American Burn Association has identified scald burns from superheated liquids in microwaves as a target for a new public awareness campaign,Water alone should never be heated in a microwave.
This is an all too common example of what can happen. A man decided to have a cup of instant coffee, so he heated a cup of water in the microwave. When the timer went off, he removed the cup from the microwave and noticed that the water had not boiled.
Without bubbles, the water cannot release the heat that has built up, the liquid does not boil and it continues to heat up past its boiling point. If the water is bumped or jarred, it’s enough of a shock to cause the bubbles to rapidly form and the result is an exploding liquid that is scalding hot. One solution is to place a wooden stir stick or something non-metallic in the water to help diffuse the energy as it’s heating in the microwave
These burns are dramatic and traumatic because they often affect the face and hands of the burn victim. Fortunately, these burns rarely need grafting; however, they are extremely painful and in children these burns often lead to hospitalization for wound care and pain control
If you receive one of these burns, and especially if it covers the face or hands, seek a burn care specialist for care. Initial treatment for the burn can be performed in an ED or at a doctor’s office, but a burn specialist should see the burn within 24-48 hours after the injury, especially if the face is involved. If the eyes are involved, an ophthalmologist should be consulted immediately


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