Created Hot Plasma in the Microwave – with Grapes

I can’t believe I’m okay with the fact my plans for the beach this weekend got cancelled.  But it’s a rainy day, and, anyway, I was excited to test something I had just heard about – that one can create hot plasma in the microwave with grapes.  And by plasma, I mean like Star Trek’s plasma fields:  an ionized gaseous state, consisting of suspended negative and positive particles.  Plasma is actually a separate state of matter:  not a solid, liquid, or gas.  It can act as a electrical conductor.  It is the state of stars, and of lightning.  It can be created in our microwaves. With grapes. Which blows my mind.

Preparatory materials.  Grapes skins are cut into pieces with some of the flesh.  The plastic is to help keep in the plasma to keep it floating into the rest of the microwave.  It only works for a little while.  I turned on the microwave for 20-30 seconds.  Please watch the video, and be careful attempting this yourself.  Do at your own risk; I have no money for anyone to sue me for!

Preparatory materials. Grapes skins (from only 1 grape) are cut into pieces with some of the flesh still on. The plastic is to help keep the plasma from floating into the rest of the microwave. It only works for a little while. I turned on the microwave for 20-30 seconds. Please watch the video (link below), and be careful attempting this yourself.

Ignition

Ignition

Flaming ball of fire

Flaming ball of plasma.

It works!  In my microwave, the plasma was ‘brilliant.’  If I have done my reading correctly in this short time, I created a thermal plasma by turning solids and liquids into gas, then into hot plasma.  Which floated up.

This is where I got the idea: http://www.sciencedump.com/content/make-plasma-grapes-microwave, which has a much clearer video than my photos here.  And great commentary. (I caught the whole process on video too [with no commentary], but I don’t have the right subscription to WordPress to display video).

Settling down

Settling down

But be careful.  Do too much, and the plasma will melt through the plastic, and the ball of fire could get loose in your microwave’s interior, and do damage.  Watch the video in the link above, and do this at your own risk, as I have no money to be sued for.

By the way, for those who seek to experiment with different plasma ‘creations’, plums don’t work.  Besides bigger could be dangerous.

Aftermath

Aftermath

What a cool experiment.  I did read more, and was somewhat disappointed to find out that plasma is the most common state of matter, being the state of stars, nebulae, and much of space. I also found out it exists in neon lamps and plasma TV displays, so I don’t feel quite as thrilled that I had recreated a Star Trek engine fuel.  But still, where it is created it or exists is quite impressive. See http://en.wikipedia.or/wiki/Plasma_(physics) especially for a list of dangerous plasma ‘forms’.

Kindof crazy.

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One thought on “Created Hot Plasma in the Microwave – with Grapes

  1. Pingback: The Year 2014 in Adventures | adventuresacross2014

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