THE BEST Experiments

Microwaving Steel Wool

Microwaving Steel Wool

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.

Making a Hot Tub from Ice

Making a Hot Tub from Ice

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.

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Can You Unwhip Cream?

Can You Unwhip Cream?

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.

Making Flaming Snowballs

Making Flaming Snowballs

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.

Giant Mousetrap Car

Giant Mousetrap Car

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 in Color

Schlieren Imaging in Color

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.

Fluidizing Sand

Fluidizing Sand

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.

When Mercury Meets Aluminum

When Mercury Meets Aluminum

While most aluminum is covered with a protective oxide layer, it’s possible that it could wear away over time. After watching NileRed’s clip showing how mercury can interact with exposed aluminum, we’re more than happy with it being banned from air travel.

Stretch Armstrong Gets Swole

Stretch Armstrong Gets Swole

After subjecting a goo-filled Stretch Armstrong figure to his shredder (or was it the other way around?), PressTube decided to stick the figure inside of a vacuum chamber. I still fun to see him all pumped up, but we were hoping for a big boom.

Quantum Levitation Möbius Strip

Quantum Levitation Möbius Strip

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.

Mjolnir vs. Trampoline

Mjolnir vs. Trampoline

So what happens if you drop a 91 pound replica of Thor’s mighty hammer onto a trampoline from a height of 13 feet? Will it tear through the surface, or go flying into the air? Place your bets as BrainfooTV puts this quandary to the test.

Lighting Thermite with the Sun

Lighting Thermite with the Sun

Thermite is some nasty stuff, but the extremely hot-burning material needs an ignition source around 3,000° F to get started. Grant Thompson decided to see if the solar light concentrator he built is up to the challenge of sparking a thermite blaze.

Rocket-powered Fidget Spinner

Rocket-powered Fidget Spinner

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.

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How to View Magnetic Fields

How to View Magnetic Fields

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.

Flying Fidget Spinner

Flying Fidget Spinner

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.

Controlling Mercury with Magnets

Controlling Mercury with Magnets

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.

Coke + Butane Rocket

Coke + Butane Rocket

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.

Drone vs Lightning

Drone vs Lightning

Tom Scott headed to the University of Manchester’s High Voltage Laboratory to see what would happen when a DJI Phantom 3 drone gets struck by more than 1 million volts of electricity from a simulated lightning bolt. TL;DW: don’t fly your drone in a thunderstorm.

Overpowering a Radiator Fan

Overpowering a Radiator Fan

The guys at Photonicinduction like to apply way too much current to items. In their latest experiment, they overpowered the electric fan from a car’s radiator, turning it into an impromptu drone before its motor ultimately met its maker.

Earthquake Damper Demo

Earthquake Damper Demo

Engineering firm Teratec uses a shake table to demonstrate how hydraulic dampers can be used to offset forces on a structure, reducing the likelihood of the sort of resonant frequency disasters which can happen from earthquakes, wind, or other vibrations.

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Vacuum vs. Marshmallow Bear

Vacuum vs. Marshmallow Bear

The Vacuum Chamber answers a question we never knew we wanted the answer to until now: What does a giant marshmallow gummy bear look like when you suck all the air out of the room? Press play and find out.

Fun with Liquid Metal

Fun with Liquid Metal

The Backyard Scientist takes a look at an interesting property of the liquid metal substance gallium when it’s mixed with water and sulfuric acid. The metal turns into perfectly round beads, then coalesces with an almost magnetic force due to surface tension.

White Hot Tungsten Cube

White Hot Tungsten Cube

The Beyond the Press channel raises the stakes (and steaks) against the old Red Hot Nickel Ball folks, heating up a cube of tungsten to over 3000º C (~5432º F), then uses it to quickly cook some meat and take on a shockingly resiliant watermelon.

Can You Freeze Anti-Freeze?

Can You Freeze Anti-Freeze?

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.

DIY Vacuum Cannon

DIY Vacuum Cannon

Even though it sounds like a sci-fi weapon, vacuum cannons are actually easy to build. The only “hard” part is sucking the air out of them to reduce the air pressure. NightHawkInLight made one using a 4″ diameter PVC pipe and a 3″ diameter end cap as its projectile.

Molten Copper in Slow Mo

Molten Copper in Slow Mo

One of the few self-illuminating materials to find its way in front of The Slow Mo Guys‘ lens is this liquid copper being poured at more than 1200ºF. We’re sure glad they didn’t splash any on their schmancy high-speed camera.

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