Grapes are pretty cool because they make wine, but did you know that they will also explode if you put them in the microwave (which does not make wine)?
If you put even two grapes in the microwave, or a single grape that’s been cut in half, but with the skin still attaching the halves, you can see this phenomenon. It’s not entirely recommended to try it at home–causing sparks in your microwave from any source can be dangerous–but you can find YouTube videos where other folks have tried this experiment.
What was lacking from the YouTube experiments, however, was an understanding of why grapes cause sparks when microwaved. Physicists have recently figured this out. It’s a combination of the grapes size and shape, along with the water inside. These details match up with the length of microwaves’ wavelengths, causing the sparks (or combustion, in some cases). Scientists have recreated this phenomenon with other small spheres, including quail eggs, grape tomatoes, and large blueberries, among other things.
What application this has to science remains to be determined, but researchers believe that it could assist in the field of nanophotonics, or for wireless antennas and microwave imaging.
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