Chemistry

Watch What Happens When A Snowball Is Encased In A Nickel-Based Superalloy, Then Dipped In Molten Steel

February 13, 2016 | by Tom Hale

Photo credit: General Electric/YouTube

“You've got a snowball’s chance in hell,” as the saying goes. But, with the help of some pretty incredible material science, a snowball doesn’t fair too badly in a ridiculously hot environment.

In this short film, a vessel containing a snowball is submerged into a bath of molten metal slag. When withdrawn from the scorching liquid, impressively, the snowball remains unmelted.

The cinematic YouTube video was produced by General Electric, for a promotional series called “Unimpossible Missions.”

The team of engineers and scientists from General Electric developed the vessel, which is made of a nickel-based superalloy. Remarkably, the metal casing is just over 3 millimeters (0.11 inches) thick, then lined with 5 centimeters (2 inches) of fibrous alumina-silicate insulation.

These materials can withstand temperatures of over 1300°C (2372°F) and were developed to cope with the super-heated environment of a jet engine.

To add further comfort for the snowball, they then packed it in a 3D-printed plastic capsule filled with dry ice. Check out the video below. 

 

 

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