Why grapes produce fiery plasma in a microwave: Scientists discover the fruit traps electromagnetic radiation to form intense ‘hot spots’
- Scientists found the grapes trap microwaves when heated, generating a spark
- It was said a ‘skin bridge’ between grape halves was needed to create plasma
- However, they say two grapes only need to be placed next to one another
- The effect can be replicated for quail eggs, hydrogel beads and blackberries
A pyrotechnic party trick that involves grapes bursting into flame in a microwave has been explained by scientists.
The trick, popular at science fairs and on YouTube, is performed as follows: Cut a grape into two halves joined by a small piece of skin and place in a household microwave oven.
Switch on at full power and enjoy the spectacle as white hot fire erupts from the point where the two grape halves touch.
While many have sought to provide a scientific explanation behind the phenomenon, few have gotten it right – until now.
Scroll down for video
WHAT DID THEY FIND?
Many have tried to explain why grapes create plasma or sparks when microwaved.
Previous theories said an ‘antenna,’ or a small piece of skin, connecting two grape halves conducted an electrical current that caused them to burst into flames.
However, a new study has discovered that an antenna, or ‘skin bridge,’ is not necessary for a fire to spark.
Instead, they found two grapes trap microwaves which cause them to heat up.
By simply putting two grapes close to one another, they’re the right size and shape to trap microwaves, create a ‘hotspot’ and generate plasma.
The same effect can be replicated with hydrogel beads dipped in water.
A new study conducted by a team of Canadian scientists shows how the phenomenon is triggered by charged molecules containing sodium and potassium.
Scientists used a combination of thermal imaging and computer simulations of electromagnetic fields to explain the physics behind why sparks are generated from microwaved grapes.
Experiments with water-based hydrogel beads and computer simulations revealed that the joining piece of skin does not play an important role, as was previously thought.
Electromagnetic resonance led to concentrated spots where the ‘ionised’ molecules generated a plasma, a super-hot electrically conductive gas.
The ability of water to absorb microwaves contributed to the formation of the ‘hot spots.’
Jaws was right! If you see a shark moving at slow speeds it…
Apple may unveil ‘all-new’ 16-inch MacBook Pro and bigger…
Big Ben-sized asteroid will skim past Earth TOMORROW in…
Scientists uncover rare 110 MILLION year old spider fossils…
Share this article
Put simply, the microwaves were being trapped in so-called cavities between the grapes.
‘If you take two of these grapes and bring them close to each other, what happens is you don’t have an independent system anymore, but you do have a system where those two – we call them cavities – talk to each other,’ Thomas Volz, an associate professor at Macquarie University in Sydney, told New Scientist.
A study conducted by a team of scientists shows how the phenomenon of microwaved grapes generating plasma was triggered by charged molecules containing sodium and potassium
Experiments with water-based hydrogel beads (pictured) and computer simulations revealed that the joining piece of skin does not play an important role, as was previously thought
By simply putting two grapes or hydrogel beads close to one another, they’re the right size and shape to trap microwaves, create a ‘hotspot’ and generate plasma
The plasma becomes self-perpetuating and separate from the ‘dimer’ – the pair of identical source objects, in this case two grape halves, said the scientists.
Dr Aaron Slepkov, from Trent University in Ontario, and colleagues wrote in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences: ‘Observing a piece of fruit burst into flames in a microwave oven is exciting and memorable.
‘Emission spectra from grape plasma suggest that potassium and sodium species, abundant in the grape skin, are field-ionised by a strong concentration of electric field near the point of contact.
‘The ions themselves are resonant with the driving microwave radiation and can evolve a cascade of ionisation in the air, forming a microwave-heated plasma that grows and becomes independent from the dimer,’ Slepkov added.
Two grapes trap microwaves, causing them to heat up. By putting two grapes close to one another, they’re the right size to trap microwaves, creating a ‘hotspot’ and generating plasma
In addition to hydrogel beads and grapes, the scientists found the effect can be replicated with gooseberries, quail eggs and blackberries as well.
The key to sparking a fireball is a grape-sized object that’s wet enough.
The scientists also tested the effect on small quail eggs, which were also shown to produce hot spots in a microwave.
Emptied eggs did not respond the same way, but when the eggs were filled with water the hot spots returned.
Source: Read Full Article
The Race to Make A.I. Smaller (and Smarter)
Amazon Prime Video TROLLS Netflix over its password-sharing crackdown
Is THIS the iPhone 15? Leaked images show designs for 4 Apple models
Easiest dog breeds to train revealed – how does YOUR pooch stack up?
I’m a flight attendant and the worst thing passengers do happens before takeoff
Distraught woman accidentally gets ‘meow’ tattooed on outside of lip
Bartender quits job after boss tells him he cannot get drunk on his day off
Optical illusion has 16 hidden circles – so can YOU see them?