Wednesday, March 28

My measuring jug spontaneously exploded!

I was peacefully getting my dinner ready today and used my trusty old toughened glass measuring jug to make some stock.

I had just put the caserole dish into the oven and started clearing up the work area. Picking up some knives that needed washing, I placed them in the measuring jug to reduce the space they were taking up.

As soon as the knives touched the bottom of the jug, it exploded into tiny pieces!
No force was used, in fact seconds/minutes earlier I was stirring the stock with a stainless steel spoon with similar force.

No joke, some four letter words were uttered and various other gasps of amazement. It was like some weird phenomena you hear about on some dodgy web site about ghosts or UFOs. The photo shows the end result but is only a small area.

Actually after the shock and awe, I realised it was going to be a pain in the butt to clean up, because there were hundreds of tiny slithers (really tiny, some are to small to be picked up by the camera) of glass all over the work surface that I use to prepare food as well as the sink area where clean plates etc. were drying.

Jokingly it reminded me of the chocolate cream egg adverts where they are animated exploding (why is that amusing?!).

I have heard of this happening before (I think). The tension in the old toughened glass couldn't take a small knock and the whole thing disintegrated. It's interesting that a small knock at probably a single point caused a catastrophic destruction of the complete object. Makes you want to know just what happened at the molecular level and how that rippled through the object.

I guess it could have done the same whilst I was making the stock, not sure if that would have been better, at least it would have ended up on the floor instead of over the work surface.

Update: I have noticed that fine glass dust is around the area, so the whole cleaning process is like some sort of decontamination scene. I think the work surface is clear, so can return carefully checked items at one end of the work surface. The sink area is a nightmare, will have to carefully examine each plate, fork etc for signs of glass. I'm going to be double checking every item for weeks now!


Anonymous said...

I experienced exactly the same problem the glass jug exploded luckily downwards if it had gone up it could have taken my face off.
The glass was similarly shaped to the old windscreens in a car they were square shaped. The noise and chaos was amazing if it had been a branded jug I would have written to the manufacturers as it is very dangerous

TheVille said...

I am not a hundred percent certain, but I think mine was Pyrex. The problem is that the process of toughening, causes 'balanced' internal stresses.

If the glass is damaged/scatched over time, when it is hit/touched in the riight place, it can upset that balance and the stresses unravel, causing it to disintegrate.

Here is a Wikipedia page on the subject:

Anonymous said...

Had the same thing happen to us a couple of weeks ago. Bought a toughened glass measuring jug (not branded) from Asda, husband was removing it from the (cold) dishwasher, and it exploded in his hand. Glass everywhere. Like you said, much of it too tiny to see. The noise was incredible, and the shards - some square, like shattered windscreen, and some evilly sharp and pointy - had covered every surface within 10 feet. Thank god none of our children were in the kitchen. Reported it to Asda, who were very good about it, but a quick internet search shows that this is far from an isolated problem.

royalpink said...

I had my Asda jug in the fridge, full of yogurt. It exploded in the fridge, leaving a terrible mess of yogurt and glass everywhere. I have phoned Asda. They advise to come in to customer services.
This is a health and safety issue, as it could be very dangerous for anyone, especially children.

TheVille said...

royalpink good luck with that.

Found this interesting article:

I think AARP is an American pensioners organisation.

It mentions some research that suggested it might be something to do with the different glass used today compared with older products.

Although the manufacturers suggested modern products were safer and rejected the research.