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Blowing Up Hydrogen Bubbles

Blowing Up Hydrogen Bubbles

A dramatic demonstration of why the same gas that heats your house can also make it explode
To show this, fill soap bubbles with hydrogen gas and lit them with a lighter. (use hydrogen because it makes the bubbles float, so they’re safer to light at a distance. Propane bubbles would sink.) Pure-hydrogen bubbles burn quietly as the hydrogen mixes with air and burns over several seconds. Fill the bubbles with a mixture of hydrogen and oxygen, though, and what was a gentle whoosh becomes a chest-thumping bang. When fuel and air mix in advance, the entire volume of gas burns in a fraction of a millisecond — which is to say, it explodes.


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