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
English
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
DEC 10, 2020
Plants & Animals
The Surprising Way Honeybees Protect Hives from Hornets
DEC 10, 2020
The Surprising Way Honeybees Protect Hives from Hornets
"Murder hornets," more commonly known as giant hornets, might be new to North America, but in their native ran ...
JAN 13, 2021
Plants & Animals
Dwarf Giraffes Observed for the First Time Ever
JAN 13, 2021
Dwarf Giraffes Observed for the First Time Ever
The name “dwarf giraffe” certainly seems like an oxymoron, which is why scientists were shocked to observe t ...
FEB 06, 2021
Space & Astronomy
Why Does Saturn Tilt?
FEB 06, 2021
Why Does Saturn Tilt?
Two scientists from France have figured out why Saturn sits at a tilt. And they say that over the next few billion years ...
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 15, 2021
Space & Astronomy
Earth's Core has 70 Times More Hydrogen than the Oceans
MAY 15, 2021
Earth's Core has 70 Times More Hydrogen than the Oceans
Researchers from the University of Tokyo have found that under certain extreme conditions, hydrogen particles can bond s ...
NOV 09, 2021
Space & Astronomy
10 Facts You May Not Know About Carl Sagan
NOV 09, 2021
10 Facts You May Not Know About Carl Sagan
Carl Sagan was born November 9, 1934, 87 years ago today. He would go on to become one of the most influential voices in ...
Loading Comments...