Contact with water explodes molten salt

Date:11 March 2016 Author: Nikky Knijf Tags:, , ,

Our favourite Backyard Scientist is back with an experiment that had even him stumped. Why does molten salt explode when it is poured into water?

After dozens speculated on Reddit about how molten salt would react to water, the team from the YouTube channel What We Made decided to film the test. In the video (below) rock salt (NaCl) is melted and poured into a plastic tub with water. As the molten salt comes into contact with the water dozens of little explosions occur, sounding a lot like bang snaps or poppers.

“From the slow motion footage, it looks like the molten NaCl superheated the water and turned it into steam. Bubbles of steam collapsing in water generates shock-waves, that probably explains the ‘explosion’,” Reddit user MachDiamonds concluded, and although many users agreed, some disagreed.

So, the Backyard Scientist repeated the experiment and added some control tests. Watch the video above for some interesting reactions and an explanation about why molten salt explodes when it comes into contact with water.

As always, please don’t try this at home.  This is a dangerous experiment.

Video credits: Backyard Scientist and What We Made