What do you do when you have an empty fish tank and thousands and thousands of water polymer beads? Put the two together, heat some aluminium (yep, that’s how it’s spelt) to crazy temperatures, and pour it all in. That’s assuming you have the correct equipment for producing molten aluminium in your backyar– wait, you don’t? Well, that’s what the Backyard Scientist is here for, so watch his latest video above to see the amazing results of this experiment.
If you haven’t seen them before, water polymer beads are so awesome. The Backyard Scientist buys his in little bags from Vat19.com (where they affectionately dub them ”spitballs”), and all you need to do is pour them in a container of water, stir them around a bit, and in a few hours, they’ll have ballooned in size, absorbing around 200 times their weight in water. Even if you’re not attempting to recreate this experiment, just buy some of these things anyway, they’re super fun.
Having poured about 10,000 spitballs into his fish tank, the Backyard Scientist reinforces the sides with acrylic sheets so they don’t get damaged by the aluminium. Then he does what any good backyard scientist does – he asks his safety googles-wielding dog to hypothesise the results of his experiment. Science Dog eagerly anticipates explosions.
We return to our backyard aluminium smelting facility, and within 15 minutes, about a kilo of aluminium is red-hot and glowy. Besides almost destroying his submerged Go-Pro, the experiment is a success – as the molten aluminium is poured into the tank, it runs between the water polymer beads as it cools to create an amazing, entirely unique sculpture.
”Because of the way the aluminium snakes through these water beads, it guarantees no two will ever be the same,” says the Backyard Scientist.
Watch the video above to see the results. And bad luck, Science Dog, no explosions this time.