SEP 13, 2016 3:55 AM PDT

Ice Bomb?


Thermite is a combination of three things: a fuel, powdered metal and metal oxide. These three ingredients can vary with different metals and fuels, but regardless of the specific parts of the mixture, when it's exposed to heat, a reaction occurs known as an exothermic reduction oxidation, or redox reaction. Sparks will fly and it becomes quite hot, but it's not actually an an explosive. Unless you add ice, then it gets pretty loud.

Myth busters decided to test a video that showed a bucket of thermite on top of several pounds of ice that, when heated, resulted in an explosion. In their experiment, the reaction was the same, an explosion occurred, so the myth was confirmed, but no one seems to know exactly why something that normally does not explode when heated, suddenly explodes when in contact with ice. Speculation is that the exothermic reaction releases a huge amount of energy so fast that the ice becomes superheated and turns into vapor. This vapor condenses around the fine thermite particles forming a steam-thermite aerosol.The thermite mixture continues to react and the result is a steam explosion. Another theory is that hydrogen is released when the ice melts and vaporizes and that causes the explosion. Either way, don't try this at home.
About the Author
  • I'm a writer living in the Boston area. My interests include cancer research, cardiology and neuroscience. I want to be part of using the Internet and social media to educate professionals and patients in a collaborative environment.
You May Also Like
NOV 24, 2020
Chemistry & Physics
Want to Keep Calm? Tap Water Might Help
NOV 24, 2020
Want to Keep Calm? Tap Water Might Help
The ongoing worldwide pandemic places the mental health of many communities on red alert. But there may be a remedy to e ...
DEC 28, 2020
Space & Astronomy
China Willing to Share New Moon Samples
DEC 28, 2020
China Willing to Share New Moon Samples
China has recovered the first new moon rock samples in decades, and from a previously unexplored part of the moon. Now w ...
JAN 08, 2021
Space & Astronomy
New Findings Suggest Dark Matter Doesn't Exist
JAN 08, 2021
New Findings Suggest Dark Matter Doesn't Exist
The existence of dark matter has been considered a 'given' for decades as a way to understand some of the less e ...
MAR 14, 2021
Immunology
How Are Allergies Developed?
MAR 14, 2021
How Are Allergies Developed?
You might have experienced it yourself or met someone that can not eat a certain food or can not take a specific medicat ...
MAY 13, 2021
Plants & Animals
Brood X Cicadas Are Here - Help Scientists Track Them
MAY 13, 2021
Brood X Cicadas Are Here - Help Scientists Track Them
Download this smartphone app to help document one of North America's natural wonders.
MAY 28, 2021
Plants & Animals
Wild Gorillas Adopt Orphaned Babies
MAY 28, 2021
Wild Gorillas Adopt Orphaned Babies
An analysis of over 50 years of data reveals that with the help of their social group, orphaned mountain gorillas do jus ...
Loading Comments...