What happens when you put a CD in a microwave?

The first thing in our series of burning things in a microwave (What can you do with $25 and a few hours?) is a CD. Mike and I had plenty of these on hand and they are cheap when compared to other things. We wanted to see what would happen when the microwaves reacted to the metal inside the plastic layers.Knowing that, we set it up. Mike found an old Word Perfect CD that I think still ran on Windows 95… so it was donated for the sake of science. We found some Styrofoam to have it stay upright so that we could watch it through the door and pressed start. It was pretty cool what happened next.

At about 4 seconds the CD sparked to life across the surface almost transformer like, and then it shortly started to catch on fire. It took all of 10 seconds for that one to work. So if you want some instant gratification, then this would be an easy one to do. But be sure not to inhale the fumes of burn plastic.

I had been told after the fact that if you just do the initial wave of microwaves, stopping it at 4 seconds just after the surface sparks, then you can decorate a dorm room ceiling with hundreds of these that create a pretty nifty pattern. Ever seen one? Share your story if you used the CD’s for something like that…

Here was the first CD

And now the 2nd CD with slow motion to see the sparks

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