This is a true story.
Yesterday I brought a leftovers lunch in a rectangular glassware container that we have owned/used for years. We’ve never had any problems with it, or any others like it. Up until today I actually preferred this container over plastic containers. That is no longer the case.
I heated up my lunch in a microwave at maybe 70% power level for roughly 2 minutes. I didn’t want it to be super hot, nor did I want to dry out the rice or toughen the steak. I took it out of the microwave, stirred it up, and brought it back to my desk. I even took a picture of it all setup for my wife, since she packed the lunch for me. I sent her a text with the picture and a text saying something like “Great lunch!”
After eating, I continued to work at my desk. The empty glassware continued to sit next to my keyboard. Roughly 10-20 minutes after eating, the glassware literally exploded!! Yes, I’m serious.
There were 2 other students in the lab with me today who can corroborate my story. They were as shocked as I was. One even thought I had punched a monitor, and quickly stood up and checked on me. The glassware made a “popping” sound when it exploded, and glass flew everywhere. Luckily all the food was already gone. Miraculously, not a single piece of glass hit me – and I was sitting right next to it! I have no idea how that happened. Either the explosive force was mostly toward the sides not facing me, or someone in the universe really likes me lol. We picked up the larger pieces of glass and contacted facilities to vacuum the rest up. I should note that the glass was NOT tempered. At least I don’t think it was because the shards were not safe and square; there were many very sharp slinters everywhere, large and small. I cut myself twice cleaning up.
The usual questions I get are:
How long did you microwave it? (roughly 2 minutes, on 70% power)
Did you chip the glass somehow? (I don’t think so, but maybe it was already chipped and I didn’t notice?)
Did you slam it down hard? (No)
Was the surface it was on very hot or very cold? (No)
Was there a dramatic/fast temperature change? (No)
Was there a high pitched sound occurring? (Not that we know of)
We are at a loss as to what happened. I did some searching and I found references to Pyrex changing their formula which resulted in glass bakeware exploding in and out of ovens. However, this was not Pyrex (to my knowledge), and I did not heat or cool this glass dramatically at all.
If you find this page and you have some answers, please reach out to me!