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Glass detonations
March 25, 2013 6:52 AM   Subscribe

Smarter Every Day examines the physics of Prince Rupert's drop. Deceptively simple to create, these teardrop-shaped glass structures demonstrate the physics of tempered glass in spectacular fashion. Previously
posted by Morriscat (34 comments total) 39 users marked this as a favorite

 
Well, that's about the neatest thing I've seen in a while!
posted by HuronBob at 7:06 AM on March 25, 2013


That was fun (and interesting!) to watch. He's really ramped up some of the production of his videos.
posted by royalsong at 7:11 AM on March 25, 2013


Oh, I see that Landry Clarke from Friday Night Lights has his own youTube Channel now. Good for him.
posted by midmarch snowman at 7:13 AM on March 25, 2013


I just looked up the Phantom v1610 that was used to get the massive framerate for the slow motion takes of the drops exploding. It costs around $100,000.
posted by ursus_comiter at 7:19 AM on March 25, 2013


Ever since I read the description in Oscar and Lucinda, I've wondered about Prince Rupert's drops. Really cool to see how they work.
posted by xingcat at 7:29 AM on March 25, 2013


I imagine you can rent one for a shoot if you want to though ursus.
posted by pharm at 7:29 AM on March 25, 2013


A full day of high speed shards exploding at my body? Good thing I packed my 3 dollar home depot safety glasses!
posted by SharkParty at 7:30 AM on March 25, 2013 [6 favorites]


Neat! Never heard of this phenomenon before...
posted by Mister_A at 7:31 AM on March 25, 2013


Previous Smarter Every Day.

I'm pretty sure they live up to their name in this one, at least.
posted by sparklemotion at 7:36 AM on March 25, 2013


The very high frame rate video was most impressive, as it was amazing to see the fracture propagation from little end to big end.

I didn't care for his human body explanation of how the energy is stored, as I felt is was over-thought and distracting. I think most people can understand basic notions of tensions and compressions; at least it's good enough for me.
posted by Tube at 7:43 AM on March 25, 2013


BTW, Prince Rupert's drops are actually rather dangerous to have around, because the tails are very fragile and there is a lot of energy bound up into them. Playing with them without proper protective gear is a bad idea.

Not likely that your kids are spending all day hanging around a glass furnace and a water tank looking for something to do, of course.
posted by eriko at 7:56 AM on March 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


I totes want to borrow those cameras.
posted by Mister_A at 7:58 AM on March 25, 2013


For making pr0n films.
posted by Mister_A at 7:58 AM on March 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


So... if you built a large vertical kiln and put a container of water underneath it right beforehand, could you make a Prince Rupert's drop that didn't have the long tail because the drop had had time to pull itself into a roughly spherical shape and was kept molten by the kiln until it hit the water?
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 8:02 AM on March 25, 2013 [7 favorites]


Then you can film smashing the tip of a Prince Albert drop.
posted by Cat Pie Hurts at 8:03 AM on March 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


For making pr0n films.

Andy Warhol style, at 100,000 frames per second it might as well be eight hours of the empire state building.
posted by ennui.bz at 8:05 AM on March 25, 2013


ok I think we're done here
posted by jquinby at 8:06 AM on March 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


So... if you built a large vertical kiln and put a container of water underneath it right beforehand, could you make a Prince Rupert's drop that didn't have the long tail because the drop had had time to pull itself into a roughly spherical shape and was kept molten by the kiln until it hit the water?

I was actually wondering if anyone has made one in space, seems like an interesting materials experiment.
posted by borkencode at 8:09 AM on March 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


So... if you built a large vertical kiln and put a container of water underneath it right beforehand, could you make a Prince Rupert's drop that didn't have the long tail because the drop had had time to pull itself into a roughly spherical shape and was kept molten by the kiln until it hit the water?

Theoretically, if it was long enough that the drop was basically in free fall, then surface tension would try to bring the blob into a sphere, flattened by air resistance. You'd want to "cut" the molten tail when you drop the glass into the vertical kiln in case it just pulls out a very long thread as it falls -- which is how optical fiber is made, by pulling strands from a molten blank.

If you could have the kiln have a vacuum, and heat by radiation, then you could get a perfect sphere of glass that would be *very* tough until you did manage to break it. Then, well, high speed glass *everywhere.*
posted by eriko at 8:14 AM on March 25, 2013


SharkParty: "A full day of high speed shards exploding at my body? Good thing I packed my 3 dollar home depot safety glasses!"

Sometimes the lessons we learn are not the ones we're expecting.
posted by boo_radley at 8:16 AM on March 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


I was actually wondering if anyone has made one in space, seems like an interesting materials experiment.

I don't know about a Prince Rupert's Drop per se, but molten glass experiments as part of material science have been done for a long time, which is mentioned here.
posted by eriko at 8:17 AM on March 25, 2013


OMFG, put on some gloves and stop making me flinch.
posted by Panjandrum at 8:25 AM on March 25, 2013


This is a pretty awesome article about the invention of the glass that's now widely used in smartphone screens. The middle section explains how it exploits some of the same principles as these Prince Rupert's drops.

Glass Works: How Corning Created the Ultrathin, Ultrastrong Material of the Future
posted by cosmic.osmo at 8:30 AM on March 25, 2013 [3 favorites]


So... if you built a large vertical kiln and put a container of water underneath it right beforehand, could you make a Prince Rupert's drop that didn't have the long tail because the drop had had time to pull itself into a roughly spherical shape and was kept molten by the kiln until it hit the water?

Lead shot was actually produced like this in shot towers, because it made more evenly-spherical shot than casting in a mould.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 8:30 AM on March 25, 2013 [7 favorites]


I was actually wondering if anyone has made one in space, seems like an interesting materials experiment.

I feel like NASA would frown on people handling molten glass in the ISS. Or, for that matter, a kiln.
posted by gkhan at 8:37 AM on March 25, 2013


Molten glass on the ISS.

Although it doesn't seem to have actually happened - still looking - but there seems no particular problem with portable glass melting kit in space.
posted by Devonian at 9:01 AM on March 25, 2013


Wait for the drop at 0:36
posted by Kabanos at 9:17 AM on March 25, 2013 [6 favorites]


I was at a Pilchuck Glass event years ago, and a bunch of blowers (that's how they come, in bunches) were laughing about their practice of sneaking up behind somebody, slipping one of these things down his pants into the crack of his ass and snapping off the tip; wedgies of another kind, I guess.

But I didn't learn my lesson from that until much later, when I was lifting to my lips my beloved little Standard two ounce vacuum insulated demitasse coffee cup with a pink glass filler, which I'd knocked on the floor two weeks earlier, breaking the very end of the evacuation tip off but not compromising the vacuum, and it exploded, filling my open right eye with warm, milky coffee and more than a hundred tiny silvery-pink triangular fragments of glass (the only ill effects of which was a very scratchy feeling cornea whenever I blinked the following day).

I still use one of those cups every morning, and I think about the incident at least a couple of times a week, but it's not enough to make me give up that cup, somehow.
posted by jamjam at 10:03 AM on March 25, 2013


It would have been interesting to see the drop exploding through the polarizing filter.
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 10:22 AM on March 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


A full day of high speed shards exploding at my body? Good thing I packed my 3 dollar home depot safety glasses!

Isn't this effectively "safety glass"? I.e., it breaks into pieces that aren't particularly "shard" like.
posted by yoink at 10:34 AM on March 25, 2013


That Glass Works article should be its own FPP.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:12 PM on March 25, 2013


"It's never been done on the internet."
posted by not_the_water at 12:41 PM on March 25, 2013


speed of sound in glass is approximately 4000m/s and they measured the break as propagating at around 1600m/s, or a mere ~40% of the speed of sound in the medium.
posted by jepler at 6:05 PM on March 25, 2013


Xenophobe, are you serious or not? Because I have seen glass marbles being made like that. About a five story drop. You could see from the street the red hot glowing drops of glass. A beautiful sight at night.
posted by Doroteo Arango II at 12:17 AM on March 26, 2013


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