The ratsel of the exploding eggs

The ratsel of the exploding eggs

After an unusual accident in a restaurant, acoustics experts in the U.S. Have taken a close look at exploding eggs.

Result: it is rather unlikely that an egg bursting in the mouth will cause horn damage, as experts from a consulting firm tried to explain on wednesday at a meeting of the american acoustics society in new orleans.

The somewhat strange investigation became necessary after an egg exploded in the mouth of a restaurant customer. The hard-boiled egg had previously been reheated in a microwave oven. The guest stated in a lawsuit that the explosion had caused not only burns in the mouth, but also damage to the horns.

Acoustics experts should now investigate why a hard egg heated in a microwave explodes and what consequences this can have. For this, anthony nash and lauren von blohn heated nearly 100 hard-boiled, cracked eggs in a water bath in the microwave for three minutes. To prevent the debris from flying through the area in the event of an explosion, they put each of the test eggs in a female sock.

In most cases nothing happened in this procedure. 30 percent of the eggs, however, survived the microwave procedure intact, but then exploded when poked with a sharp object. "At a distance of 30 centimeters, sound wave peaks of 86 to 133 decibels were produced," nash said, according to a release. For comparison: a jet 15 meters away reaches a sound pressure of 120 decibels.

Nash and von blohn also found that the temperatures in the egg yolk were always significantly higher than in the water bath around it. The reason for the explosion could be that the microwaves solidify the protein matrix of the yolk and trap tiny pockets of water in it. This water eventually heats up beyond normal cooking temperature, nash and von blohn suggest.

If someone then pierces or bites into the egg, the fragile, superheavy pockets are destroyed, and an explosive chain reaction occurs.

It may well be that microwave manufacturers will in future include a warning against horn damage in their instructions for use, according to acoustics experts. But nash points out: "statistically speaking, the likelihood of an exploding egg damaging someone’s ego is rather small. It’s a bit like egg roulette."

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