Pyrexplosion

I’ve always heard that while tempered borosilicate glass is hard to break, once you manage it, it can be really spectacular. Something about the way it’s made causes it to explode. I’d never seen it until today.

This was a four-cup glass measure:

More behind

Today, I’ve been cleaning and rearranging the cupboards and drawers. (Thus, the random assortment of stuff on the kitchen cabinets.) I did a load of dishes, and was putting them away, when I dropped this glass measuring cup onto the cabinet. It fell about eighteen inches. It shattered into about four thousand pieces, which went sideways as much as five feet.

This is the kind of cup it was, before the tragedy. It was a good cup, the favorite for brewing iced tea. An expedition will be undertaken to find its replacement immediately.

To really get a sense of scale, here’s the glass on the counter in the kitchen. It’s on the counter on the left; you can see the bit of red from the label. I was standing on the rag rug. There was glass in my navel. There was glass in my chest hair. Fortunately, I was wearing jammy pants, so I didn’t have to pick glass out of the fiddly bits. There was glass in the sink. There was glass on the lid of the open dishwasher. There was glass on the STOVE behind me.

Amazingly, for all this flying glass, I didn’t get cut, at all. Even picking out the bits which had gotten *inside* my sandals. It stuck into my skin, pointing out like tiny thorns, but didn’t actually pierce me anywhere. Very considerate of it, I think.

There was not a single piece left wider than about 1.5 inches. Some of them were long and jagged, but very narrow. There were lots of tiny pieces like splinters and flakes. Fortunately, they don’t seem to be bent on inflicting damage. I’m still finding them in places I didn’t know they’d gotten to.

A lot of the bigger pieces continued to split into smaller chunks, minutes after the crash. They made a delicate “tink” noise.

62 replies
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  1. inyri_jax
    inyri_jax says:

    Oh dear gods. That is scary! I have chipped mine, but *knocks on wood* never broken one.

    Good that you are ok….but kinda fascinating, the pieces.

  2. inyri_jax
    inyri_jax says:

    Oh dear gods. That is scary! I have chipped mine, but *knocks on wood* never broken one.

    Good that you are ok….but kinda fascinating, the pieces.

  3. jennfurr
    jennfurr says:

    wow… and you’ll be finding ilttle glass bits for a loooooong time.

    Try taking a damp mop or swiffer over the entire floor. That will pick up at least some of the little tiny bits.

  4. jennfurr
    jennfurr says:

    wow… and you’ll be finding ilttle glass bits for a loooooong time.

    Try taking a damp mop or swiffer over the entire floor. That will pick up at least some of the little tiny bits.

  5. valkyrwench
    valkyrwench says:

    Yup, pyrex explosions are spectacular. I dropped a pyrex casserole in a porcelain sink once. The resulting crash was tremendous, and I was finding glass shards for weeks.

    Glad you didn’t get cut.

  6. valkyrwench
    valkyrwench says:

    Yup, pyrex explosions are spectacular. I dropped a pyrex casserole in a porcelain sink once. The resulting crash was tremendous, and I was finding glass shards for weeks.

    Glad you didn’t get cut.

  7. txtriffidranch
    txtriffidranch says:

    From what I understand, part of this is because of the crystalline structure of the glass, and part is because it’s tempered for extra strength. This is why most eyeglass lenses are plastic these days: I had a lens pop out of a pair of glasses when I was 13 that exploded in much the same way when it hit the ground. I’m just glad that you’re all right, because those Pyrex explosions can be nasty.

  8. txtriffidranch
    txtriffidranch says:

    From what I understand, part of this is because of the crystalline structure of the glass, and part is because it’s tempered for extra strength. This is why most eyeglass lenses are plastic these days: I had a lens pop out of a pair of glasses when I was 13 that exploded in much the same way when it hit the ground. I’m just glad that you’re all right, because those Pyrex explosions can be nasty.

  9. doobieous
    doobieous says:

    We had a pyrex pan shatter spectacularly on us once. It was on the stove, and it wasn’t heated evenly, and suddenly the thing exploded like someone attached explosives to it. Rather impressive.

  10. doobieous
    doobieous says:

    We had a pyrex pan shatter spectacularly on us once. It was on the stove, and it wasn’t heated evenly, and suddenly the thing exploded like someone attached explosives to it. Rather impressive.

  11. mothie
    mothie says:

    Spectacular!

    We once dropped the glass front to a microwave on the floor (actually it was sitting on the flour and the glass just fell out of it). That was spectacular and kept “tink”ing while it lay on the kitchen flour. We were mesmerized.

  12. mothie
    mothie says:

    Spectacular!

    We once dropped the glass front to a microwave on the floor (actually it was sitting on the flour and the glass just fell out of it). That was spectacular and kept “tink”ing while it lay on the kitchen flour. We were mesmerized.

  13. byrne
    byrne says:

    I blew one up in the oven once; it took out the element as well, but at least it was contained.

    Glad you didn’t get cut!

  14. byrne
    byrne says:

    I blew one up in the oven once; it took out the element as well, but at least it was contained.

    Glad you didn’t get cut!

  15. weezerscaddy
    weezerscaddy says:

    Yes, it is a sight to behold. I, however, did not find them hard to break. In my first 3 months of marriage, I broke 2 of the big cup measures (I think they were 4 cup too), 2 of the bowls, and about 3 of the smaller, 2 cup measures. Yes, they were all Pyrex. Because I had went through about 6 of the cheaper 2 cuppers.

  16. weezerscaddy
    weezerscaddy says:

    Yes, it is a sight to behold. I, however, did not find them hard to break. In my first 3 months of marriage, I broke 2 of the big cup measures (I think they were 4 cup too), 2 of the bowls, and about 3 of the smaller, 2 cup measures. Yes, they were all Pyrex. Because I had went through about 6 of the cheaper 2 cuppers.

  17. admin
    admin says:

    I think it just requires a specific circumstance – a drop onto an unyielding surface. The vinyl floor probably wouldn’t have broken it (hasn’t before).

  18. admin
    admin says:

    I think it just requires a specific circumstance – a drop onto an unyielding surface. The vinyl floor probably wouldn’t have broken it (hasn’t before).

  19. annina_writes
    annina_writes says:

    That is so cool! Glad that you didn’t get hurt. We’ve had them break like that…lost one just a month ago…same brand. We bought some glassware in Spain that was tempered, and when those bad boys broke, the glass really flew yards across the room. Like you, I had to take pictures.

  20. annina_writes
    annina_writes says:

    That is so cool! Glad that you didn’t get hurt. We’ve had them break like that…lost one just a month ago…same brand. We bought some glassware in Spain that was tempered, and when those bad boys broke, the glass really flew yards across the room. Like you, I had to take pictures.

  21. weezerscaddy
    weezerscaddy says:

    Yeah, mine was a crappy tile on concrete…a particularly bad floor, actually. I also went through a set (yes, a set…16) of glasses and a few plates, etc etc etc…
    Probably a bad omen, now that I’m divorced LoL…

  22. weezerscaddy
    weezerscaddy says:

    Yeah, mine was a crappy tile on concrete…a particularly bad floor, actually. I also went through a set (yes, a set…16) of glasses and a few plates, etc etc etc…
    Probably a bad omen, now that I’m divorced LoL…

  23. admin
    admin says:

    I was just amazed at how many pieces, and how FAR they went! The stored energy in the piece itself must have contributed significantly; an ordinary glass dropped the same distance usually only breaks into six or seven pieces.

    At least the flying splinters weren’t amazingly sharp! Picking them out of my belly and chest hair and carefully removing them from inside my sandals was a little nerve-wracking

  24. admin
    admin says:

    I was just amazed at how many pieces, and how FAR they went! The stored energy in the piece itself must have contributed significantly; an ordinary glass dropped the same distance usually only breaks into six or seven pieces.

    At least the flying splinters weren’t amazingly sharp! Picking them out of my belly and chest hair and carefully removing them from inside my sandals was a little nerve-wracking

  25. builtbyrick
    builtbyrick says:

    I managed to break one of those corelle dishes once, holy moly it was everywhere. I was afraid to move there were so many shards. Unfortunately, I did get cut, but minor. Explosion is the right word!

  26. builtbyrick
    builtbyrick says:

    I managed to break one of those corelle dishes once, holy moly it was everywhere. I was afraid to move there were so many shards. Unfortunately, I did get cut, but minor. Explosion is the right word!

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