Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Things you can do with custard, part 1: Walk on a swimming pool

You're probably familiar with the weird properties of corn-starch and water.

No? Tut tut, everyone should know how to walk on tinned custard.

OK, watch this:

How solid or liquid the fluid is depends on how much force it is struck with. So if you hit it hard it goes solid, if you hit it gently it goes runny.

But this is only one kind of non-Newtonian fluid. There are others: Ketchup which gets runnier the more force you apply to it. Paint, which flows smoothly from the brush to the wall but don't drip. That took a few years to figure out how to do, so respect it next time you paint your house.

I said show the paint respect dammit!!

[sound of pills being taken]

Ok, I'm all better now.

And, because of their weird properties, non-Newtonian fluids are a massive area of research. BAE systems is even developing next generation body armour using thin layers of non Newtonian liquid. Watch the video below: The first part shows a projectile hitting ten layers of non-Newtonian armour. The second shows thirty one layers of Kevlar:

They give similar performance, and the thinner and lighter you can get body armour the better the wearer can do their job.

So custard will give you the power to walk over a swimming pool, and custards relative can stop bullets.

Which, logically*, leads to the question: Can we make custard explode?

To be continued......

* I have an odd brand of logic.