The MythBusters The MythBusters

MythBusters Episode 20: Exploding Jawbreaker

Premier Date: October 27, 2004

A jawbreaker can explode when bitten after being heated in a microwave oven or standing out in the sunlight while still in the wrapper.


Microwave heating of a jawbreaker can cause the different layers inside to heat at different rates, yielding an explosive spray of very hot candy when compressed. During one test, a jawbreaker did indeed explode, catching Christine on part of her face and neck, and Adam on part of an arm, as the “jaw rig” they had set up was not enclosed by safety screens. Both suffered light burns. In Florida, a young girl suffered severe burns to her face when one exploded. When heated in a toaster oven to replicate the conditions of being left out in the sun, the jawbreaker did not explode, but the insides were molten enough to be potentially harmful. Various explanations for why this could occur, including chemical tainting, all further strengthened the “confirmed” assessment.

A construction worker accidentally killed himself with static charge after sandblasting an 8 foot PVC pipe.


No static charge built up on the pipe in initial testing. Even after they were converted into a Van de Graaff generator and a Leyden jar, the amount of static electricity produced was too small to actually kill a person. The original circumstances of the myth preclude any significant static buildup – resting the pipe on metal jack stands allows the pipe to discharge to the ground while sand in the air from the sandblasting can dissipate static charge the same way humidity can.

An ordinary playing card can actually kill a person if thrown with enough power.


Adam was already fairly adept at throwing cards, his maximum speed being 25mph; this failed to cause any injury. After trying some designs for a card-throwing machine, Adam and Jamie settled on a design that could throw cards at 155mph. When this device was used on Jamie, it caused a small cut that only drew a small amount of blood.