A Ball Of Super Hot Metal Is An Awesomely Noisy Way To Heat Your Water

Microwaves are a fine way to warm water. So are stoves. But neither of them quite compare to dropping in a sphere of red-hot Nickle to do the trick. Thanks to a little something called the Leidenfrost effect, the ball actually surrounds itself with a blanket of steam that keeps the rest of the water away.

Until the ball cools off just enough that it can't keep it up and then boom, crazy sounds and a puff of steam. It's the same thing that lets you dip your hand in molten lead, but backwards. And this little clip lets you really see how it works. Now somebody get be a blowtorch and some ball bearings because I need my coffee. [Reddit]


    Microwaves are a fine way to warm water.
    I thought it was dangerous to boil water in a micro=wave oven.

    CAN be dangerous if the bubbles don't have anything to form on. Put a wooden paddlepop stick, or something nonconductive (And foodsafe) in with the water and danger goes away.

    You mean Nickel, not Nickle, don' t you.


    Come on how long have we been using microwaves for now..... NB, Coffee with milk in it will froth over if heated tooo much ,but that just causes a mess in the moicrowave oven..

    Generally it is only Deionised (Double) water that is likely to cause problems in a microwave, as it superheats, and as there are no nucleation bodies in the water for the steam bubbles to form....

    The story goes that after it is heated, if you bump the cup, it will all boil instantly, and you will get scalded....

    So if you are about to make a coffee with double or triple-deionised water, just add the sugar (or a little salt) first, or stick a paddlepop stick in it (or microwave safe spoon, a metal spoon is cool, and may spark a little (but in my experience, a stainless steel spoon doesn't usually spark, for that try a CD or foil (its not dangerous.)...

    Just going to boil some water in the microwave to see....

      I checked, yep water boils in a microwave.... (heated in a clean ceramic cup)

      BUT this is 'cool'... after 3 mins in the oven (microwave one) I got the water out and it stopped boiling very quickly (normal);

      adding some salt to the water and the water roiled (small bubble appeared and the water
      appeared to boil again as the salt was being dissolved..... (this happened instantly) and it did it twice in a row.... No steam explosions.

      Repeated with salty water (a little salt in a cup of water) the roiling was less remarkable...

      As dissolving salt is an exothermic reaction, adding the salt increases the energy in the water, ( note: water with ions has an increased boiling point than pure water as it drops the vapour pressure of the liquid, but a teaspoon of salt in a cup of water makes little difference...) hence the water returns to the boiling point when the ions are added, and the salt is dissolved in a mildly violent reaction.

      Point: It is not dangerous to boil water in a microwave... (Maybe for some freak people, using lab water)
      Disclaimer: Don't try this at home, or anywhere, the experiment was carried out under controlled conditions by a team of experts.

      Someone with DD water handy can check to see if they can get it to explode into a steambath. (Handle with appropriate PPE.)

      After reading the linked article I repeated the experiment, heating the water for 10 minutes.. (that is a lot of time/energy for a cup of water.) (Who would heat water in a glass inside a microwave, you are likely to break the glass...)

      Still no dice, not even the extra boil when adding salt, likely all that bubbling while the oven was on, apart from steaming half the water away, got rid of a lot of the dissolved gasses...

      Still can't discount it hapening to some poor devil..

      Last edited 06/01/13 11:13 pm

        I salute your spirit of experimentation and furthering of Gizmondian knowledge :-)

    Um, dip your hand in molten lead?what now?

      I youtubed it and got mythbusters and got the real deal. God damn.

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