These Hot Balls Cutting Through Water Are Super Cool


Science is a pretty wonderful thing, and every day we see interesting experiments that challenge our perceptions of the world we live in. This new video with hot metal balls cutting through water as if it had almost no resistance is a great example.

The principle being explored here is called the Leidenfrost effect. When a hot object moves through a fluid, it creates a pocket of air around itself through evaporation. That pocket of air has some interesting properties, but previous experiments with it haven’t resulted in a lot of usable material. That’s partly because of the limitations of the setup - it wasn’t possible to heat them up and introduce them to the medium without losing temperature.

This latest experiment upped the ante, heating the metal balls to 400 degrees Celsius before dropping them in the water. That then made them essentially cut through the water with significantly less resistance, moving the superheated metal much faster than its unheated counterpart. The practical applications of this technology are still up in the air, but it’s cool to experiment with. There might be uses in transportation or some other field, but right now science is just goofing around and seeing what happens.

Thanks to ScienceMag for first posting the video.