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Can You Make a Slinky Out of Concrete?

When walking down the sidewalk, do you ever think “I wish this concrete was a slinky?” Probably not. The team behind YouTube’s Waterjet Channel clearly did at some point. They put it to the test with their high-pressured waterjet, cutting a spiral into concrete like it was butter. Based on previous attempts (fails really), they added wire mesh and fiberglass to strengthen the concrete. None of their experiments really hold up as a slinky you can play with, but that doesn’t stop them from sharing the results.  

The video above is a series of experiments as the team tries to make a better concrete slinky than in a previous video. But nothing really works to hold the spiral together. They were hoping to make slinkies more like their version using flooring tile and glass that were more like the metal and plastic versions we know and love. Concrete just isn’t the right medium, apparently. The trials are fun to watch though.  

For years, the team has cut a lot of stuff in half using a 60,000 PSI waterjet. That’s 60,000 pounds of pressure per square inch. In comparison, pressure washers used to clean cars and houses use about 1,500 PSI. The water also comes out super-heated, which they remember the hard way after sticking their hand into the pool left behind after cutting one spiral.  

Waterjet Channel

The Waterjet Channel YouTube is full of other answers to questions you’ve never thought to ask, including what things look like on the inside if you cut them in half. They’ve also shown what happens to a ballistic gel hand if it gets in the path of the waterjet. It’s a good reminder of the power—if its ability to cut a spiral into concrete wasn’t enough. There’s also other random uses for a waterjet, like pumpkin carving or spinning a skateboard wheel so fast it explodes. Certainly seems like they have a fun internet job/hobby.

Melissa is Nerdist’s science & technology staff writer. She also moderates “science of” panels at conventions and co-hosts Star Warsologies, a podcast about science and Star Wars. Follow her on Twitter @melissatruth. 

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