Fun with Grapes - A Case StudyLast Updated: 14 June 1994
Patrick R. Michaud, email@example.com
AbstractUsing only cheap, readily-available equipment, you can create a
spectacular lightshow in the comfort of your very own kitchen, providing hours
of fun and excitement for your family, friends, and pets!
Ordinary grapes, when properly prepared and microwaved, spark impressively in
an extremely entertaining manner.
IntroductionWe have made an important new discovery in the field of
culinary entertainment. Properly prepared, the common seedless grape can be made
to combust spectacularly when subjected to a short (5-10 second) duration of
microwaves. This study was conducted based upon suggestions from dozens of IRC
#root participants using locally available funds and equipment.
Materials RequiredThe following materials were needed for this study:
- Green grapes (genus Vitis)
- Microwave-safe plate (Corelle by Corning)
- Knife (Ekco Stainless Steel)
- Microwave Oven (Whirlpool Model MT6901XW-0)
- No parental sponsors (both authors are fortunate to have supporting funds
unencumbered by parental restrictions)
- The authors carefully cleared the laboratories of all non-essential
personnel, especially those persons who might attempt to abort the experiment
while the grapes were still in the pre-combustion phase.
- Next, the grapes were carefully prepared for proper theatrical effect. The
knife was used to carefully slice the grape almost in half, leaving the grape
halves attached by the skin. Next, the grapes halves were placed face down in
the middle of the microwave safe plate (Figure 1).
Grape prepared for theatrical effect
- Next, the plate with the prepared grapes were placed into the center of
the microwave oven and the door carefully shut. The microwave was set to cook
at full power for 40 seconds. Finally, after the various recording devices
were in place, the start button on the microwave was engaged.
Observed ResultsAs can be seen from figure 2, the effect of the
microwaves on the sliced grapes produced an extremely satisfying flare and
associated sparks. The photographic quality of figure 2 is slightly deteriorated
due to the poor lighting conditions at the time of the experiment.
The sparks began approximately 5 seconds after the microwave was started.
Approximately 3-4 seconds after that, the force of the sparks separated the
grape halves by approximately 1.5 cm, ending the theatrical effects. At that
point the microwave session was aborted to prevent further damage to the
microwave and/or grape. The post-combusted grape is shown in figure 3.
Discussion and ConclusionsAs this report was being prepared, it became
evident to the researchers that a mis-communication occurred from the
experimental design to the actual conduct of the experiment. The original
experimental design called for the grapes to be placed on the plate with the
sliced side up, whereas this experiment occurred with the sliced sides placed
downward. Further research will be required to determine if the positioning of
the grapes significantly affects the theatrical results.
A future experiment calls for the microwaving of multiple grapes
simultaneously for increased theatrical effect. For those who wish to forge
ahead on this research, the authors suggest separating each grape by a distance
of 1.5 cm or more. Note that the authors take no responsibility for any
accidents resulting from mis-application of this study. If your microwave blows
up and your house catches fire, call the fire department, not us. Our microwave
ovens appear to be in good shape after repeated experiments.
The results of this study will greatly enhance the field of culinary
entertainment. New pyrotechnic methods have been developed using commonly
available grapes and microwave ovens. The results of this study and its
derivative works provide fertile ground for new research. The authors are
planning to use this research as a basis for experimentation with other species
of grape and produce. Results of such study will be made available in future
AcknowledgementsThe authors gratefully acknowledge the operators of IRC
and the participants of channel #root, without whom this study would have been
Patrick R. Michaudfirstname.lastname@example.org