Watch: A Snowball Wrapped in Nickel Alloy Takes a Swim in Molten Steel
To celebrate National Inventors Day, General Electric (GE) released a video demonstrating the proverbially impossible, a snowball surviving through hell.
“There’s an expression we use for an unlikely or impossible event. When something has little or no chance, we say it has a ‘snowball’s chance in hell,'” the narration in the video states. “But those are the kinds of odds we like. In our experiment, we’re going to send a snowball to hell, and try to bring it back safely.”
The primary purpose of the video was to show off GE’s nickel-based super alloy, which would form a vessel around the snowball and insulate it from molten steel, which is referred to as “the closest thing to hell” GE could find.
The snowball was fitted inside a plastic mold, then placed into the vessel, a 50-pound can that was coated with 1/8 inch of the nickel-based alloy, and a two-inch wall of alumina-silicate—a material commonly used to build jet engines.
The vessel was then lowered into a lake of molten metal at an old foundry. The lava was estimated to have a temperature as high as 2,000 degrees.
Remarkably, after the vessel was taken out and it had cooled, the snowball inside has survived mostly intact.
The project require a motley crew of engineers, physicists, and chemists, many of whom specialize in jet engines and turbines and others in oil and gas.
“We worked on the project just for a few weeks and it was amazing that we pulled it off. It’s really the power of the GE Store,” Steve Buresh, an engineer at GE’s global research center, told GE Reports. “The idea that we have so many experts of different disciplines and can bring them together to leverage that knowledge and experience. I saw it happen.”
(H/T – IFLScience)