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How hot does water have to be to explode? Is it possible for this to happen in a microwave oven?

asked in water, explode, temperature

agentju90 answers:

if you microwave water in the microwave and really super heat it, then add salt to the water, the reaction can be pretty explosive. i think that water in it's steam form has more chance of causing an explosion in a sealed space like a presure cooker or a steam engine.

sorry, no numbers in my answer. i'll do some research.

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Messerwisser answers:

It is possible to overheat water to maybe 2-3C above the normal boiling point. Then a minute disturbance causes an immediate outburst of a minor portion of the water into steam. It is almost like a small explosion that can scald you, but it can't damage the micro.

Steem behaves like any heated gas. In a restricted volume it can reach high pressure.

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mercman99 answers:

Water at normal sea level pressure will boil at 100 degrees celcius (212 f) If you raise the air pressure, the water boiling characteristics will appear later at a higher temperature,lower it and it appears sooner.If you placed a beaker of 15 c tap water in a vacuum jar and lowered the pressure to equal that at 30,000 feet,it would appear to boil.Gases being released at boiling point give the water the bubbling feature we see as boiling water.
This pressure heating technique is known as super heating and was developed for the steam engine to produce more power from the same input heat.It is still used in power generation today.The water will itself not explode,but the release of gases cause the sudden expansion of water volume if the pressure is released.That is why you shouldn't take the cap off a boiling car radiator,as the sudden pressure release caused by opening the cap can have serious results.
Steam is the most dangerous build up in a water heating situation and will apply pressure in an even way until something gives.This is why there are saftey valves on heating system boilers.

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moonzero2 answers:

all that has to happen is for the water to be covered in a hot molten substance.

A little water in the bottom of a crucible, even just a small drop, will convert to steam virtually instantly if it is dipped into a vat of molten metal.

This was of such a safety concern, that it was used in a safety film shown to my old secondary school; probably because the main employer at the time was a steelworks.

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