Zyra's site //// CONCEPTS //// SCIENCE //// SITE INDEX

Science made Silly...

More Microwave Oven Tomfoolery!

Following on from How a Microwave Oven Works, here are a few interesting examples of silly things it's possible to do with a microwave oven. Some of this microwave oven tomfoolery might be risky, so remember that Zyra is a qualified mad scientist, and that if you try any of this, then you understand it is AT YOUR OWN RISK!


Anything approximately radio aerial-like such as the coily filament in a lightbulb will be energised if blasted in a microwave oven. The bulb lights up, even if it was a blown bulb! Then it explodes. If you are considering winning money by someone betting that a blown lightbulb can light up, it's important to factor in the cost of cleaning out all the broken glass from the microwave. Also see "EGG" in a later paragraph.


Whilst it often seems life might be like living in a badly-made movie, a fact that suggests against this is the fact that if life really were a badly-made movie then a glass full of petrol/gasoline if heated in a microwave oven would explode violently in a great ball of flames. Curiously, fossil fuels of this type aren't heated by microwaves at all. That's because the molecules of petrol and diesel fuel are long chains of carbon and not POLARISED like the H2O of water molecules. On a safety note, because fuel is invisible to microwaves it's important to microwave a glass of water at the same time. The water will boil while the fuel remains cool. Also note that smoking is seriously dangerous to health!


DON'T TURN THE OVEN ON! Instead, put the phone in the microwave oven and then phone it up. It rings! Now, the strange thing about this is that a microwave oven case is impervious to radio waves, isn't it? Yet the radio waves to the phone work! The answer here is that a cordless phone is at much lower frequencies*, which can easily get in and out of the microwave shield. Mice can get in and out of the lion's cage at the zoo. Notice I say "cordless" phone. I'm on about those short-range phones that hang on a bracket at home. In contrast, mobile phones are at frequencies nearer to microwaves.

* This trick with the cordless phones working in a microwave oven because their communication frequency is far enough below that of the microwave and can therefore penetrate the shielding, only works for the old style 49Mhz and Medium Wave analogue cordless phones (typically around the 1990s in the UK). Most cordless telephones in the USA are in the 2.4 GHz band and other so-many gigahertz unlicensed radio frequency bands. Also, the general situation on cordless phones around the world tends to be away from the low end of the spectrum, so this trick with the microwave oven shielding and cordless telephones may at some time be entirely archaic. The situation may or may not be different for radio controlled models, so this may be worth experimenting on!


Yes, it's true! It's possible to have hot cola and hot fizzy pop of various kinds. Previous to the invention of the microwave oven, attempts to boil cola in a saucepan would boil away all the fizz. But, in a microwave, cola can be heated up to the temperatures of hot tea/coffee. Don't say "yuck" until you've tried it! See hot cola


At a party, when alcohol makes some things seem a good idea at the time, you may consider the possibility that a person may not take you seriously when you bet them that you can cook an egg in less than a minute. Now, everyone knows that to boil an egg takes four minutes in boiling water, so someone may take you on your bet, confident in the belief that you can't cook an egg in less than a minute. Now look, this isn't a casino, and I'm not suggesting the wagering of money or other financial gambling, but you could have the bet witnessed by other eager partygoers, that if you win and the other person loses, then that person shall clean the kitchen! Gamble accepted, you take a fresh egg and put it in a non-metallic egg-cup, and put it in the microwave oven on full power. Due to the small size of the egg and the fact that all 650 watts or more is concentrated into that small ovoid-shaped region, this will almost certainly cook the egg in less than a minute. 20-40 seconds is more likely. At that point, the cooked egg will explode, leaving you the winner, and the other person having to clean the kitchen, including the insides of the microwave oven which is now covered in lightly boiled/scrambled egg.

Note: Works equally well on caged, barn, or free range eggs


At one time there were a great many disposable (now collectible) AOL CDs about. The trick with the microwave oven destroys a CD quite spectacular with mini lightning storms. First, a tall glass is placed in the microwave oven. Then the sacrificial CD is placed on top. Then, the oven is powered up. Sparks fly.

BOWL?a mock fine china bowl

And now we come to the star event on this page, HOW TO MAKE MOCK FINE CHINA BOWLS. How ever can that be done? Bizarre as it may seem, this was done by taking a margarine pot of the type which contain 500g of "soft spread" and are available from such places as Asda, Iceland, Tesco, and other well known supermarkets for 19p or thereabouts. After eating all the delicious grease, which is great on gluten-free toast, the empty pot is cleaned and filled half full of hot water and carefully microwaved! More about this on How To Make Mock Fine China Bowls

Following the success of this Microwave Tomfoolery page in which odd things are done with a microwave oven, there is now a similar page to do with the deep freezer. You can see this at Freezer Fun