The Bacon Lance


Boing Boing Video clip on YouTube

I've always been fascinated by thermal lance since I saw it in the movies being used in safecracking (since then the Mythbusters have confirmed the plausibility but kinda sorta debunked its feasibility in a heist).

Theo Gray, whose book Theo Gray's Mad Science: Experiments You Can Do At Home - But Probably Shouldn't was featured on Neatorama Spotlight, did something even better: a thermal lance made of bacon!

From Theo's highly entertaining Gray Matter column in Popular Science:

A thermal lance, typically made of iron instead of bacon, is used to cut up scrap metal and rescue people from collapsed buildings. It works by blowing pure oxygen gas through a pipe packed with iron and magnesium rods. These metals are surprisingly flammable in pure oxygen, releasing a huge amount of heat as they are consumed. The result is a jet of superheated iron plasma coming out of the end of the pipe. For sheer destructive force, few tools match a thermal lance. But iron isn't the only thing that's flammable in a stream of pure oxygen.

Bacon is fattening because it contains a lot of chemical energy tied up in its proteins, and especially in its fat. You can release that energy either by digesting it or by burning it with a healthy supply of oxygen. The challenge isn't creating the heat; it's engineering a bacon structure strong enough to withstand the stress of a 5,000°F bacon plasma flame.

Bacon, is there anything it can't do? http://www.popsci.com/bacon


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Oh c'mon. He's surprisingly ignorant for a scientist.
Prosciutto is a form of dry cured HAM.
It's made from pigs hind legs.
Bacon is made from belly fat and smoke dried.

You cannot, nay - MUS'NT ever confuse the two.
Bacon is awesome, but good prosciutto is absolutely divine.
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fascinated, huh? i'm sure the guys who cut up skulls in the yard at steelmills with oxygen lances won't share the same sentiment! we used them all the time for cutting up skulls (kinda like solidified spilled molten steel....think wax but instead metal), cutting out scrap steel and opening plugged taps on ladles and tundishes. we used brake lines, lit them with cutting torches and a guy that was good with an oxygen lance was a joy to watch.
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