Whether you’re a health crank or a wine buff, everyone loves grapes. But grapes are more than just health-giving or inebriating berries. They’re entertainment. I’m talking about a grape… plasma fireball… explosion.
I won’t get all technical for long, but the reason that grapes have this magic power: their combo of electrolyte rich juices (which helps them seize all the ions) and their sliced, thin skin (which provides a small edge to bundle all those ions together). This heats the grape to ignition. (It’s the remix to ignition.)
Back to the fun.
The experiment is pretty safe… your microwave could get to be a bit smokey, so you might want to be on guard to avoid activating the fire alarm (and dorm-wide hatred).
All smoke detectors have different thresholds, too, so if you know your dorm’s detectors are really sensitive, you should probably practice extra caution. Otherwise, the activity is harmless, super easy to engineer and much fun to watch.
1 green grape
1 glass cup (optional)
1. Grab a green grape and a plate, or something else microwave-safe (e.g. baking cups).
2. Cut the grape nearly in half—leave a thin piece of skin in between the two halves so that they are still connected. The water in the skin is what creates the “plasma fireball.”
3. Place the grape in the microwave.
4. Start the microwave. Things should start happening within the first 4-5 seconds.
For heightened effects place a glass over the grape. The glass contains the air surrounding the grape and better displays the sparks. It also protects the microwave roof.