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Q & A: bean bomb

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Most recent answer: 10/22/2007
Q:
Why would it be dangerous to heat a can of unopened beans in a pot of boiling water?
- Cynthia
California
A:
It sounds dangerous. The pressure inside the can will go up as the contents heat up. The can might explode. The beans would be the least of your problems.

Mike W.

Actually, heating it in a pot of boiling water may not get the can hot enough to really do a good job of exploding although we recommend NOT trying this experiment! Putting the can in a campfire almost certainly will be disastrous. I recommend NOT doing this one either. I was a Boy Scout when I was younger, and a member of our troop (it wasn't me, honest) put an aerosol can of cooking spray into a campfire. Our scoutmaster jumped up almost as far as the can lid went after the explosion. Hot, burning coals were scattered all over the campsite. My backpack still has a burn-hole in it.

Tom

(published on 10/22/2007)

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