Monday, December 31, 2007

In 2007, the site www.flyingcircusofphysics.com received more than 100,000 visits from over 130 countries. Pretty good, I think.

2 Comments:

Blogger jude said...

Hi! This isn't a comment on your last post, I just wanted to talk about molten metal. Twelve years ago I was working in an aluminium smelter and tried your dunking the wet fingers in molten metal trick, and can report that it works well in aluminium, which has a melt point of 660 centigrade. The ingots were only about 1cm thick at the ends and I could touch the base of the mould through the molten aluminium. I tried it forst with the fingers of my hide glove. I put one dry finger of the glove on top of the molten metal, and when I removed it, it was blackened. Then I wet another finger in the quench vessel and tried it again. There was a boiling sound, but the finger was OK. I did not have my actual fingers inside the glove at any point. Then, similarly to your report, I wet my finger and tried to do the experiment, but my brain caused me to miss the first couple of times because it was so obviously a stupid thing to do. I eventually touched the metal surface and was amazed that I felt no heat. I repeated the experiment several times, touching the base of the mould, and was not burned or scalded at any point. The main risk was that the reaction between molten aluminium and water is explosive, however my body was behind a perspex shield and I was wearing protective glasses and woolen clothing. The other problem was that my coworkers were highly unimpressed because although I tried not to tell them about my experiment, I was too excited and they knew something was up. When I gave in and told them, we were all in a difficult position because duty-of-care legislation had just been introduced and they were now responsible for my actions. Fortunately, I had waited until the last night of my vacation work to try this experiment, reasoning that if I hurt myself, I wouldn't have to miss any shifts and let anyone down.
I suggested the leidenfrost demonstration on the mythbusters website and added your article for verification, however I didn't realise my post was public and and I did not sleep for several nights, worrying that people would repeat this foolhardy demonstration in their backyard foundries and injure themselves. If you are reading this, please do not dip any part of yourself into hot molten metal!
Kind regards,
Jude A

5:22 PM  
Blogger Jearl said...

Jude, I fully agree. No one should be doing this or a similar demonstration. I have been burned fairly badly but I still consider myself lucky that I did not lose an eye or have any other permanent damage.
Jearl Walker

6:29 PM  

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