Bad Astronomy

Coin deflation

Via Built on Facts comes this slice of awesome from the Intellectual Ventures Lab site. They strap a scary big capacitor onto a U.S. quarter and zap it with 15,000 Joules, a truly terrifying amount of energy to pack into a few square centimeters. And what happens when they do?

Go watch the videos to find out. It’s pretty cool. Interestingly, in the high-speed video, you can see the affect on the coin before the materials get so hot they incandesce. That means the magnetic field is interacting with the quarter itself before it heats the air, which is not what I expected.

You can also clearly hear one of the guys telling people to look away when he trips one of the safety devices. That threw me for a moment. Why look away? Because it’s bright? And then I realized: they are creating a potential of 10,000 Volts, which means they get enough energy density to make X-rays ultraviolet light. Holy Haleakala. Anyway, watch the setup video as well.