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How to Microwave a CD

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How to Microwave a CD
Microwaving a CD produces a shocking display.

Microwaving a CD produces a shocking display. The aluminum coating on the CD acts as an antennae for the microwave radiation, producing plasma and sparks.

PiccoloNamek, Creative Commons License
Microwaving a CD or compact disc produces plasma and a firework-like display of sparks. The CD ends up with an interesting burned pattern. As you might imagine, you'll never be able to use it for data ever again! It's easy to microwave a CD, but there's a chance of ruining your microwave or harming your health. Here's how to microwave a CD safely.

Microwave a CD

  1. Choose a CD or CD-R that you don't mind ruining. If it has data, you'll never see it again. Similarly, you'll never be able to record data after microwaving the CD.

  2. Prop the CD up against a glass of water or damp paper towel. Do not place the CD against a metal object. It's not a great plan to run your microwave with nothing in it except the CD.

  3. Close the microwave door and nuke the CD for a few seconds. Do not microwave the CD for an extended period of time (more than a few seconds is too long). You'll see a glow and sparks almost as soon as your turn on the microwave.

  4. Allow the CD to cool before removing it. The heated metal and plastic is hot and can burn you.

  5. Avoid inhaling vapors from the microwaved CD. Melted plastic produces toxins. Similarly, vaporized aluminum isn't good for you.

  6. Discard the CD and wipe down the microwave.

Warning

You'll certainly ruin the CD in the name of science, but you should be aware you may ruin your microwave also. There is a risk that a stray spark might damage the mechanism of the microwave. This will not be covered by the manufacturer warranty. You can minimize the risk to your microwave by using the minimum time you need to see the effect.

Watch the video of a CD in a microwave.

What CDs Are Made Of | Things You Shouldn't Microwave

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