Friday, July 22, 2016

Using a laser to pop balloons—with a surprise

AAPT's SM16 included the customary picnic and demo show on its last night (which precedes its last day).

Rutgers' David Maiullo, star of That PHYSICS Show led a capable crew of physics demo artists through a fun-filled demo show.

I caught most of the "balloons popped by a laser" sequence (at 240 fps). But upon further review, I noticed something unexpected. Who doesn't love something unexpected (in this context, anyway)?

Have a look. What surprised me, and what's the explanation?

Laser Balloon Pops


Len said...

Assuming the laser is on the left and the balloons are popping in order of proximity, the surprise is that the second last balloon pops before the third last.

My explanation would be that the second last balloon is clearly more inflated than the third last, so is more prone to popping. The third last ballon is transmitting enough light to do this, and not absorbing enough for itself to melt/pop that quickly.

LeeTramp said...

Can you describe where the laser is and which way it is pointing?

Dean Baird said...

Blue (violet) laser coming in hot from the left. Look closely for the dot on the balloons.