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YES IT'S TRUE! PYREX EXPLODES

One of my pyrex dishes did in fact explode today. These dishes are supposed to be able to handle hot temperatures. I guess they are made with cheaper alternatives. It was terrible and my finger got cut!

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  1. How did it explode? Inside your oven? Or shortly after you taken it out? Or it just exploded at room temperature for no apparent reason?

    5 Replies
    1. re: Chemicalkinetics

      Chem, stick with me on this. Fifty odd years ago, I was taught that glass is a liquid in a temporary state of rigidity. If true, and you break the surface tension, say a small imperceptible chip, then would not this weaken the overall molecular integrity of the glass vessel? Also, if true, then the glass vessel that was able to handle the stress of expansion/contraction uniformly (due to a uniform surface tension) now has a flaw (void) that allows a greater, concentrated non-uniform expansion/contraction, right?

      I could be wrong, but I am fond of this thought. I'll check back later to see what you think. Right now I'm getting a Pabst.

      1. re: dcrb

        While many people have thought that glass is a liquid, it is not. Glass is an amorphous solid. The molecules are disordered but they are rigidly bound.

        1. re: khuzdul

          Yes, I agree. I left out the amorphous portion. My mind is a little fuzzy after all these years. But basically, glass can go from solid, to liquid and back again. Not arguing the point.. I was just wondering that if the surface was damages as in a scratch or chip, as the glass cools down, would not the relaxation or compression try to fill the void and thus cause the fracturing? Conversely, in the heating, would not the void in the surface allow a tearing as the material heated up and expanded? I could have this all wrong but I think it is plausible. After decades, The only time a corning ware, pyrex, or anchor hocking product cracked was taking from a hot oven and setting on a cold wet counter top surface, or actually a wet towel on the counter. I have never had an explosion and neither has my wife.

          1. re: dcrb

            I don't think that amorphous solids work that way, but I could be wrong. "Liquid metals" are amorphous solids also and I'm pretty sure that they don't have issues with relaxation or compression to fill voids. For glass specifically it is susceptible to crack propagation because it is a brittle amorphous solid.

            1. re: khuzdul

              I wasn't sure either but it was a thought. I wonder how many folks take the cold casserole dish or what ever and and place it on a rack in an oven pre-heated to 325, or higher. Something is bound to happen over time. For us at home, all casseroles, whether in pyrex/corningware, fireking, or metal, get placed on a jelly roll pan to catch any bubble overs and is then placed in the pre-heated oven. Never had a problem. (watch my luck change this weekend!)

    2. It is true. I've only had one explode on me and it is . . . . shocking when it happens.

      I think what happened to me is that when I put the very hot pyrex down on the counter there must have been some cold water or something under it. I hear that water-to-steam sound and then . . . . . it just exploded. It was pretty amazing. Millions of little pyrex pieces.

      12 Replies
      1. re: thimes

        What are people doing with the pyrex when it explodes? I need more details about this phenomenon.

        1. re: dixiegal

          I'd tell you more if I knew more. That is exactly what I remember happening. I wasn't expecting it to happen so wasn't really keeping track of things up until that point. I think mine had to do with a sudden temperature change in a localized spot. That is a total guess but it did happen and I wasn't doing anything that I would have considered unusual or different from what I had done 100s of times before.

          Wonder what the OP was doing.. . . . .

          And I guess just for clarification it didn't "explode" like it hit the ceiling. But since it is a tempered glass it shatters into a million little pieces - like a car window if you've ever had someone break one of those on you - millions of little pieces everywhere.

          1. re: thimes

            What happened to you seems to have a better explanation than the stuff that explodes in the oven. I think just about any glass container (and possibly some stoneware?) would be at risk under those conditions.

            I would expect so, at least. :/

          2. re: dixiegal

            I've not had it happen to me, but I have read that it happens with newer Pyrex, not the pieces you've owned for decades.

            1. re: dixiegal

              I've posted about this many times on CH, but when it happened to me, the pyrex was in the oven, thank god, because it exploded into a million little pieces. It was at room temp when it went into the oven, as was the food, so I have no idea why it exploded but I will never use pyrex in the oven again.

              1. re: flourgirl

                On vacation, at rented beach house. chicken breasts, a tomato sauce. 350 degrees. glass all over the oven. Horrible to clean up/out, we finally got it all. We guessed that the pan was just too old and too stressed. We rented the same house the next year, and there was a new pyrex baker. we avoided it. And have ever since. !

              2. re: dixiegal

                In Maine in a log cabin. Trying to thaw out some meat, with the frozen meat in the Pyrex casserole, and the Pyrex casserole sitting directly on the bare top of a cast iron wood burning stove. Fire burning in wood burning stove. In retrospect, it was surprising that it sat there a good long time before it exploded.

                1. re: AsperGirl

                  Wow, I can not believe you did this. Cold on glass and then container on heat is a big no no with pyrex. O well, we all did it at one time.

                2. re: dixiegal

                  one night when i was a kid (can't remember exactly how old) my family was out and i decided to surprise them with brownies from scratch. i remembered my mother melted the chocolate in one of her pyrex bowls, but forgot she did that over simmering water. i still remember the exploding glass and chocolate flying everywhere. thankfully, my mother wasn't nearly as upset as i anticipated.

                  1. re: dixiegal

                    For me it's only happened when I've exposed it to a severe temperature differential. Like preheated a Pyrex dish in a HOT oven (450) to roast chicken, then put in a cold chicken. (I now roast my chicken in cast iron). It also doesn't stand up well to deglazing (cool room temp liquid into hot pan)

                    1. re: Savour

                      Maybe I've been doing it wrong all these years, but I don't think you're supposed to preheat Pyrex, especially to fairly high temperatures. (particularly because of risk of shattering)

                      Deglazing's a bad idea for Pyrex, too -- unless you're using warm-to-hot liquid and a utensil incapable of scratching the surface.

                      1. re: sunshine842

                        Well, yes to both of them. Which I learned the hard way.

                3. No it did not explode in the oven. I had taken it out of the oven and placed it on the countertop. There were no wet spots

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: whodidit

                    The countertop was probably cool or cold.

                    Ceramics of all kinds -- stoneware, porcelain, tempered glass - should go onto wood or cloth when hot. This was easier to remember back in the day when no one would have considered putting a hot-from-the-oven dish onto the counter (because the counter was usually laminate).

                  2. Pyrex is not made of the same material it was years ago....buy it used at an estate sale...there are some french products that use the older glass formula ...old discussion on here

                    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/751340

                    1. I had a 9x13 explode on me. One of the newer ones, not any of the older pieces of my grandmother's. I've since thrown out all the new Pyrex and have been given Le Crueset bakeware replacements as gifts!