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Culture

IT worker's lunch explodes in his face

Technically Incorrect: An Australian computer repair store owner is holding his lunch when it goes bang. Tempered glass can do that.

Technically Incorrect offers a slightly twisted take on the tech that's taken over our lives.


evans-images.jpg
And this was after his lunch blew up. Rhys Evans (With permission)

Any given day at work, your career could blow up in your face.

Less common is your organically-farmed salmon sandwich doing the same.

However, one Australian IT worker discovered that lunch can be volatile. Rhys Evans sat at his desk in Gosford, New South Wales, ready to tuck into a lunch that was in a glass bowl.

Evans told me: "I had been eating homemade lasagna, which my wife had cooked."

Clearly it was good lasagna until it blew up on him. The glass bowl in which his lunch sat simply decided to go out with a bang. CCTV video captured the action and you can see his co-worker jump at the explosion.

Evans owns a computer repair store. He told me he was lucky. He said: "I had little glass shards all over my hands and everywhere, but no injury thankfully."

Evans, according to the Telegraph, took one look at the wreckage before him and the footage of it and wondered what his old science teacher thought.

This teacher, Jacob Strickling, offered that this must have been tempered glass. The Telegraphy quoted him as saying: "As the glass cools in the manufacturing process, the inside of the glass is subject to an extreme 'trapped' pressure."

He added: "Under certain circumstances this can lead to modern glass products such as tables, shower screens, pool fences, glasses etc. exploding without warning."

Wait, I have a glass dinner table. It has seen some explosions, but has never chosen to do so itself. What can these potentially explosive circumstances be? How can we prepare ourselves for our lunches or, worse, our Haagen-Dazs caramel cone ice cream blowing up in our faces?

Earlier this year, ABC2 in Baltimore investigated the exploding glass phenomenon. Chris Rohrer, marketing director of Caplan Brothers Glass, explained that tempered glass is made stronger by heating it and then quickly cooling it.

The result is to make it much stronger.

It also means that when it shatters, it does so in tiny little pieces rather than huge and potentially dangerous chunks. However, it seems to be an inexact science as to when the glass might actually shatter.

Rohrer pointed to extreme changes of temperature or some almost invisible abnormality in the manufacturing process. All of which isn't too much consolation when, as 43 people in the US discovered between September last year and February this year, tempered glass unexpectedly goes pop. Or bang.

In Evans' case, he explained that the bang wasn't too bad. He told me: "It wasn't a huge bang, but enough to make me jump."

As for the glass bowl. he doesn't know where it came from, but he said he'd ask his wife.