Overloaded Capacitors Make Amazing Slow-Motion Explosions

The Slow Mo Guys are back with more antics. This time they target capacitors, overloading the voltage and filming the results in ultra slow motion. The result is a series of explosions that are short in real time but fascinating and even beautiful when slowed down. Capacitors store energy in an electronic circuit and have clearly labeled ratings and tolerances. Which co-hosts Gav and Dan take as a challenge.

The MythBusters influenced The Slow Mo Guys YouTube channel, evident in their mindset to keep taking things one step farther. The first capacitor they overload has a safety feature like a release valve so it merely vents the pressure. Where’s the fun in that? They rifle through their supplies to find capacitors that will explode instead. Then they crank up the voltage. Definitely don’t try this at home!

During the 13 minute video, they film at rates between 80,000 and 187,500 frames per second. For comparison, the slo-mo setting on iPhones records between 120 or 240 frames per second. Later in the video, they add a dangling water balloon. The resulting video looks like an asteroid impacting Earth, sending ripples and debris out from where the capacitor rockets into the balloon.

An exploding capacitor punctures a water balloon
The Slow Mo Guys

As for safety protocols, the guys add a fan to clear out the smoke and particles. Dan hides under the table while controlling the voltage and Gav steps away from the camera. But that’s about it! They wear lab coats but Dan’s is ceremonial at this point. Apparently, Gav ordered the wrong size many years ago and Dan immediately hulked out and ripped the right sleeve. It is shredded, covered in paint, and slightly singed.

A capacitor explodes into particulates and an arc of electricity
The Slow Mo Guys

Gav and Dan also include their honest reactions to seeing the video for the first time. Their excitement is nearly as entertaining as the slow motion itself. Other great videos include shattering a wine glass, watching a 3D TV, and something called a rainbow fire tornado. The Slow Mo Guys also have a second YouTube channel full of pranks and behind the scenes videos.

Perhaps because they’re English, Gav and Dan sound polite even when they’re amped up. Gav even signs off with “love you lots” to their millions of subscribers. Each video from The Slow Mo Guys includes science, slow-mo, and sweetness.

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