This super-fine steel wool reminds us of Donald Trump’s hair. But these skinny metal strands are most interesting when they have their electrons excited by a microwave oven. Steve Mould explains why it behaves so spectactularly. The 9-volt battery trick is pretty neat too.
THE BEST Experiments
When they’re not crushing things with their hydraulic press, Lauri and Anni are fooling around in the snowy countryside of Finland. This week, they managed to create a single-person hot tub made entirely from ice. The color of that hot water is more than a bit sketchy.
Theoretically, the reason that whipped cream is thick is because of the air in it. So if you put it in a vacuum chamber and remove all the air, does it go back to the way it was? The King of Random sucks as hard as they can to answer the question none of us was asking.
After creating a mix of chilled acetone and water that was both slushy and flammable, The King of Random tried to make fiery snowballs using a similar technique. After a few false starts, he succeeded with gasoline-soaked snowballs. Kids, don’t try this at home.
A while back, The Backyard Scientist built a massive mousetrap and used it to smash things. He decided to take all of the energy stored up in that giant spring and use it to drive an axle. Unfortunately, it seems as if its power should be measured in mousepower, not horsepower.
Schlieren imaging is a method of visualization which plays with light refraction to capture images of normally invisible fluid patterns like air movement. Here, Veritasium walks us through a variant which uses colored filters to produce some astounding images.
Kyle Hill from Nerdist recently posted a brief clip that shows the crazy stuff that happens when you inject compressed air into a bed filled with sand. We spotted this 2012 video from The Royal Institution that shows much more, and provides an explanation of the physics at work.
Students from the Ithaca College Low Temperature Physics Lab created a neat version of a quantum levitation track. It still uses supercooling and magnets to work its magic, but adds a fun (and literal) twist to by running its course around a triple-twist Möbius Strip.
Every time we think we’re done with the fidget spinner fad, somebody comes along and amps these silly playthings up to the next level. The Backyard Scientist decided that he couldn’t spin his fast enough, so he added a propulsion system, and upping the danger factor by 100x.
The process of sandwiching oil and ferrofluid between sheets of glass is messy to say the least, but the result is amazing – the ability actually view the radiating fields created by magnets placed on the surface of the glass. Magnetic Games shows us how its done.
For Inventables’ fidget spinner challenge, Giaco Whatever decided to see if he could make one that could float in mid air. After a bunch of experimentation, he was able to get it to work by placing it between two opposing magnetic fields, and spinning it for stabilization.
Beyond its liquid properties, the other cool thing about mercury is that it’s magnetic. Roobert33 shows how electromagnets can be used to change the direction that mercury flows in. It would be cool to build an Escher-style fountain that flows uphill with this method.
Grant “The King of Random” Thompson previously tested the myth that mixing propane and Coca-Cola would turn it into a pressure-packed rocket, and failed. He tried it again with butane, and the highly-flammable stuff works brilliantly. Definitely don’t try this one at home.
That acid green stuff in your car’s radiator not only helps keep your engine cool, it keeps it from freezing. Grant Thompson wanted to know if it’s possible to freeze the stuff with liquid nitrogen. The slow-mo of the nitrogen hitting the table is literally super cool.
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