Cool Things You Probably Shouldn’t Microwave But Will Anyway

CD in a Microwave
CD in a Microwave (PiccoloNamek)

These microwave experiments are pretty cool, although the oven might not survive the experience. So, consider yourself warned.

Microwave ovens work by inputting energy to whatever you are cooking, causing the molecules to vibrate. For food, the goal is to generate energy as heat, however, sometimes you can get an electric discharge when ionized gases form plasma. Other unfortunate outcomes are also possible. Take a look…

How To Microwave a CD

I have done this using a CD in my microwave and it still works just fine (the oven, the CD not so much). I even have instructions so you can try this yourself. However, there is a risk that the aluminum coating on the disc could produce sparks that would short out the appliance. Also, the vaporized aluminum and melted plastic are not healthy to breathe. It’s probably better to watch the video, but if you have a disc you particularly hate, this is one way to destroy it.

How To Microwave a Light Bulb

The energy lights the bulb, but the metal parts will spark, ultimately breaking the glass and often shooting an electric arc into your microwave. An incandescent bulb explodes. A fluorescent bulb is even worse, because extremely toxic vapors are released when the bulb breaks, such as lead and mercury. Never microwave a fluorescent bulb!

That doesn’t mean the project is impossible. If you really want to try this, use an incandescent bulb, but put the metal part in a cup of water, like this:

How To Microwave Grapes

The shape and composition of grapes makes them perfect for generating plasma, which is ionized gas. This is a really cool project, but there is some risk to your appliance. If you put a glass (dielectric material) over the grape, it should contain the electric discharge. Just be sure to cut the power before your grapes become raisins. Raisins don’t contain much water, so they will smoke and eventually ignite. Here’s a safe way to nuke grapes to see plasma:

Ivory Soap in a Microwave

A bar of Ivory soap is special because it’s possibly the only soap that turns into a foam when it’s microwaved. Air and water are whipped into the product. As you heat the soap, the water boils and the air expands into bubbles. The soap solidifies as it cools, locking in the foam form. The chemical structure of the soap is unchanged, so after you finish nuking it, you can use it to wash your hands or you can color it to make fun bath paints for kids.