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Propane Powered Bottle Launcher Captures Gorgeous Chemical Reaction in Slow Mo

Propane Powered Bottle Launcher Captures Gorgeous Chemical Reaction in Slow Mo

What do you get when you combine propane and a bottle of soda? Normally the answer would be the beginnings of a backyard barbecue. But when you add in a plasma coil and a slow-motion camera, you get something that’s a lot more enticing than an overcooked cheeseburger.

In the latest video from Ben at the YouTube channel NightHawkInLight, he made a new plastic bottle-inspired device. This time around he constructed a launcher that uses a propane torch for fuel. When he holds the trigger, it fills the soda bottle with a mixture of propane and air. Once there is enough fuel in the bottle, he releases it and the bottle soars off with a loud bang.

As he admits, this is a little more complicated than it needs to be (he also has instructions on how to construct your own, simpler launcher), but considering how great the added aesthetics of the vinyl tubing and wooden frame looks, the extra effort was worth it. And that’s true even before getting to see it in action in super slow-mo, where the chemistry on display is simply gorgeous.

As always, while we love learning the science behind these devices and seeing them in action, if you try to make one yourself, please heed all of his warnings and instructions, and take all safety precautions. Despite just launching a soda bottle, this still utilizes a flammable substance.

Like how we don’t let Uncle Teddy tend the grill after he’s had a few, only those who can handle propane responsibly should try using one of these — the consequences of misuse are a lot worse than an over-charred hot dog.

How would you describe the chemical reaction that takes place in the bottle? Share your description with us in the comments below.

Images: NightHawkInLight

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