Slow Motion Camera Reveals The Strength Of Underwater Explosions

Don't try this at home.

What happens when you put dry ice or liquid nitrogen in a sealed container? Nothing you want to be standing near for very long, that’s for sure.


Dry ice exists when carbon dioxide is cooled past −109 °F, freezing into a solid. As it warms, the dry ice sublimates directly back into a gas, skipping the liquid phase entirely. When it warms inside of a sealed container, the pressure increases along with the temperature. 

This is some fairly basic physics, but depending on the material of the container, the pressure can grow too high and cause the vessel to burst.

YouTube’s The Backyard Scientist wanted to visualize what would happen when such an explosion took place underwater.

The explosion seems to oscillate because of Boyle's Law, which characterizes the inverse relationship between pressure and volume. The volume of the bubble expands until the air pressure drops and it can no longer push on the water. The water pressure crushes the bubble into a smaller volume, until the pressure is great enough to push back. This process goes back and forth until the bubble breaks on the surface.

The explosion itself looks pretty wicked, but The Backyard Scientist wanted to fully illustrate what was happening nearby the explosion as well.

Air-filled balloons show that the effects of the shock waves can be pretty intense, and you should probably get the heck out of the way if you come across one, lest your internal organs get rattled into gelatin.

Check out the full explanation here:


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