Dangerous Physics Experiments

In summary: Well, you know. I put them on and started mixing the chemicals. The best way to start a thermite reaction is by using a conductor such as a wire. Once the wire is hot, you can easily flick the switch to start the reaction.Make sure you have a bucket of water nearby in case of an emergency. In summary, coming to the end of the college year and we need some fun/dangerous experiments to try in the remaining lessons, preferably experiments that involves flames, sparks or loud bangs.
  • #1
Coming to the end of the college year and we need some fun/dangerous experiments to try in the remaining lessons any suggestions? preferably experiments that involves flames, sparks or loud bangs.

Didn't know whether to put this in the Physics section or not so i just put it here, feel free to move it.
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  • #2
Might be real nice to be in a lab, controlled space, saftey measures in place, warnings, and persons capable of ensuring that SAFETY measures are properly taken, but I would wonder/question the Wisedom of posting such types of instruction(s) is this 'milieu', as "Saftey First" isn't always practised as carefully, in 'uncontrolled/unmonitored environments', as it should be to ensure that no one is hurt.

Usually, the first time you try things, you do not always get it right, and that can be harmful, to say the least.

If I can think of anything that might help you, perhaps I will PM you, as that might just be a much Safer way to go.
  • #3
I should have included that the experiments are going to be done in a lab with the Physics teacher present and helping, i don't think anyone that uses or looks at this site would be stupid enough to do potentially dangerous experiments without all the relevant saftey precautions being taken. thanks for pointing that out wouldn't want anybody hurting themselves.
  • #4
COOL, no problemo, but I would, respectfully, suggest that Chemistry is where you might find the Loud Noises, Bangs, Flashes, and whatever else you might be looking for, that is "fun".

Not that physics doesn't have the above, but a little difficult, and probably really-really dangerous to try to re-create a 'Super Nova" in the lab.
  • #5
Do not, I repeat DO NOT try this...

A high school chem teacher of mine got in trouble for playing around with the gas in the chem room.

He got a tub filled with really soapy water, hooked up a tube to the gas cock, turned the gas on low, and placed the tube under the water.

We watched as the gas bubbles started to rise, when the teacher whipped out a lighter and set fire to the bubble.

Like I said, he got severely repremanded from what I heard.
  • #6
I remember in one chem lecture the lecturer brought in what most people assumed was cotton wool. Although I knew instantly what it was. :wink:

He put the "wool" on the table and pulled out a box of matches, and struck one. Everyone in the room had a confused look on their faces... That is until the flame reached the "wool" and it promptly turned into a rather large ball of flame. The wool was in fact nitro-cellulose.

The above is a fun, and exciting experiment. Especially if you put the nitro at the bottom of a tube, and place a soft ball at the top of the tube. Light the nitro and watch the ball fly out of the tube! You have yourself a small cannon. :smile:

The cannon experiment can be fun, but be sensible, it can be dangerous.
  • #7
An experiment that my class did today

In chemistry lesson, we divided ourselves into 8 groups and each of the group did the same experiment.

A mixture of hexane and propanone was heat under reflux in a closed system. We recoreded different boiling points of the mixtures when different proportions of hexane and propanone were mixed ... suddenly a fire broke out, part of a bench and a whole set of experimental set-up in one of the 8 groups was on fire...5 minutes later, another group's set-up caught fire also... was very dangerous. :wink: Luckily no one was hurt.

Accidents can always occur in chemistry experiment!

Few months ago, a small amount of propanone/acetone splashed on my classmates' skin.

Once, my classmate and I filled the whole chemistry lab. with chlorine gas, by mixing small amount of concentrated sulphuric acid and conc. bleach. (YOU MUST NOT DO IT)

PS. Hexane and propanone are flammable, propanone (we also call it acetone) is carcinogenic.
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  • #8
Getting a thermite reaction going is pretty easy and fun.
  • #9
The best one that me and my mate did was wrapping some thin copper wire around someone else's pencil case, we then plugged the wire into the positive and negative terminals of a pwer pack put it up 2 full voltage and then flicked the switch on, the wire glowed red hot before turning black with a cloud of smoke, and the pencil case was no more!
  • #10

Originally posted by KL Kam
propanone (we also call it acetone) is carcinogenic.

But what isn't considered carcinogenic now a days?
  • #11
We had one in University that I particularily disliked.

Before taking us into the Labs, they showed us a film of people with severe acid burns, medical stuff.

So once I got into the lab, I went to the 'dispensary', and asked for the obligatory "Rubber Gloves" that were needed for handling the acids, we were about to handle.

They 'shoooshed' me away, telling me that they didn't have any.

Well, this was all a (really stupid) 'practical joke', meant to 'teach' us an important lesson about acids.

We Handeled Nitric acid, (low power) so when we spilled it upon ourselves, which everyone does due to the nature of the glass bottles, it turns you skin yellow.

There after, while walking in the cooridors, you could tell the first year 'Chem' students, by their yellowed fingers, hands, arms, etc.

What I dislike about this, the loss is the message it sent to someone, like me, who did try to obtain gloves, heeded the warnings, and was still punished with "Yellow fingers" because they wanted to prove a point (to me) that I had already accepted, unfair/unjust to say the least!
  • #12
First year chem was similar here in Oz. No gloves given, and people always spilling chemicals over the jars. I remember picking up a jar of NaOH and realising my fingers suddenly felt very soapy, then the stinging began. Good job it was low concentration stuff, but it still caused slight tenderness in my fingers for days.
  • #13
Put Caesium in oil. Make a bomb and blow it up boom
  • #14
We had a teacher in HS chem class, that made H Gas by mixing a catalyst with Hcl acid, and wanted to show us that is could carry a 'flame', without oxygen.

He cause the generator to fill a tube with the gas, and lit a match at one end of it, it quickly jumped through the tube and flamed out the other side. He tried it a second time, I suspect that the generator had run low as the tube wasn't filled properly, (there was air in it) so when he lit that one, the tube blew!

Certainly made me feel comfortable that I had had the saftey glasses on!

Know at least two people who have suffered eye injuries as a result of, a piece of 'hot metal' off of a lathe, and the other did it by disconneting the positive side of a car battery (that had run flat, and was therefore 'gassing') First! He touched the wrench to the metal that the car is grounded to (all of the car body) and the spark set off the gas from the battery. It exploded with HOT lead shrapnel dangerously flyin all over the place, and a tiny piece of the metal caught him in the eye.

It was seen a 'little' that the had acid burns over a good part of his upper body, as the eye damage was seen as more serious.

He survived, got his eye sewn, as did the lathe guy, both very fortunate guys who still have two good eyes...thanks Doc!
  • #15
He tried it a second time, I suspect that the generator had run low as the tube wasn't filled properly, (there was air in it) so when he lit that one, the tube blew!
It exploded with HOT lead shrapnel dangerously flyin all over the place, and a tiny piece of the metal caught him in the eye.
how dangerous ! Perhaps we need to wear armor, helmets and gas masks when doing experiments.
  • #16
a really good experiment to watch is a "chip pan" experiment where a small container if cooking oil is heated until it catches fire and then water is poured on to the oil, visually this is very cool!
  • #17
Fill a balloon full of hydrogen then put a lighted splint in it.

Get pure undiluted alcohol and fill a beer casket with it. Miz this with liquid alsterene. Get a huge plastic container and fill it with gunpowder, shot gun cartridges and pure Caesium. Cover this in flour and drop napalm on it. Its so cool
  • #18
Just so no one gets the wrong impression, of all of the times that I have spent in labs, and other dangerous workplaces, the VAST mojority of those times everything went very well, safely, good visual explanations, and a good education, therein.

1. What makes a physics experiment dangerous?

A physics experiment can be considered dangerous if it involves high levels of energy, radiation, or pressure that can cause harm to the experimenter, the environment, or both. It can also be dangerous if proper safety precautions are not taken.

2. What are some examples of dangerous physics experiments?

Some examples of dangerous physics experiments include experiments involving nuclear fusion, high-voltage electricity, and extreme temperatures, as well as experiments with highly reactive chemicals or radioactive materials.

3. How do scientists ensure the safety of dangerous physics experiments?

Scientists take various precautions to ensure the safety of dangerous physics experiments. This includes conducting thorough risk assessments, following safety protocols and guidelines, using protective equipment, and having emergency plans in place.

4. Have there been any major accidents or disasters caused by dangerous physics experiments?

Yes, there have been several major accidents and disasters caused by dangerous physics experiments, such as the Chernobyl nuclear disaster and the explosion at the Large Hadron Collider. However, these incidents are rare and scientists continuously work to improve safety measures.

5. What are the potential benefits of conducting dangerous physics experiments?

Dangerous physics experiments can lead to groundbreaking discoveries and advancements in various fields, such as energy production, medicine, and space exploration. These experiments also help scientists better understand the natural world and push the boundaries of human knowledge.

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