Can a Metal Bowl go in the Microwave? Explained in 2023

Growing up everyone has been told not to put metal in the microwave because it will break the microwave and could cause a fire. In this article, we will discuss why there are some kinds of metal that can go in the microwave, what will actually happen if you put the wrong type of metal in, and answer the question can a metal bowl go in the microwave?

Metal bowl microwave

Arcing

Arching is the scientific reason most metal sparks in the microwave. In short, arching is an electrical discharge that jumps through the air, such. Arcing occurs when the electrical voltage exceeds the breakdown voltage of the air, causing the air to ionize and create a conductive path for the electricity to flow. This can happen when there is a high electrical potential difference between two conductors, such as when the electrical charge on a metal object in a microwave exceeds the breakdown voltage of the air inside the oven. The electrical discharge creates a visible spark and can also generate heat and light. In the context of microwave ovens, arcing can be dangerous as it can damage the oven and create a fire hazard.

Certain Shapes are Conducive to Arching

Pointy metal objects, such as forks or knives, can spark in a microwave because the microwaves can create a high concentration of electrical charge at the pointed tip. The point concentrates the electrical field, creating a high-density electrical discharge, which leads to arcing and thus sparks.

On the other hand, curved metal objects, such as a spoon or a round-bottomed bowl, distribute the electrical charge over a larger area, which reduces the concentration of charge and the likelihood of sparks. The curved surface also helps to avoid sharp angles that focus the electrical field.

Can you Put a Metal Bowl in the Microwave?

Yes you can. The curved nature of a bowl reflects microwaves evenly and so there is no build up of energy in a specific area. it’s not any metal in a microwave that’s an issue it’s metal with point that can arc, such as a fork or piece of aluminium that you need to watch out for.