Friday, March 03, 2006

Electric Grapes and Strawberry Pop Tart Torches

An article in the latest SFWA Bulletin dovetailed nicely with a home-experiment tip we picked up last summer from our friend, astronomer Larry Molnar. The tip was about cool science you can do with ordinary household grapes and your microwave. The article in the Bulletin mentioned this, and also discussed the brave science you can do with a strawberry Pop Tart and an electric toaster—preferably one you never intend to use again. You can read about both experiments, at and at

If you try these at home, just don't blame me. (Actually, we tried the one with grapes, and it's pretty cool.)


At 8:40 PM, Blogger substandardTim said...

haha i've been doing the grape thing for years. The most I did was 20 grapes one time. I think the more you add though the less spectacular the show.

I wrote a paper in college called something like "Spontaneous Combustion of Grapes". In it I made up all kinds of terrible scientific theories as to why the grapes flare like they do. At first my professor refused to grade it because he thought I had copied it from somewhere.

I once saw an explanation offered by a "scientist" who hypothesized that what is actually taking place is that the juice from the two halves super-heats and is actually creating plasma. Whether this is correct or not I don't know.

For more Microwave fun try these items: 1. a cup full of shaving gel. 2. a disposable camera (only if you really don't want your microwave anymore).

At 8:41 PM, Blogger substandardTim said...

oops my username keeps changing, that's me: Tim or crewmanTim

At 1:49 AM, Blogger Jeffrey A. Carver said...

Actually, I heard someone else say something about the creation of a plasma from superheated grapejuice. Maybe it's true.

I am just going to assume now that anyone who signs on here with any variant of "Tim" must be you. :)


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