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Check Out These Pumpkins Exploding, Spewing Molten Iron And Levitating

Since Halloweenis upon us, The Royal Institution has found a pretty novel way of celebrating: exploding pumpkins and the eerie powers of superconductor levitation.

The first video shows a jack-o’-lantern bursting with a thermite reaction between iron oxide and aluminum powder. The reaction needs a lot of energy to get going, so its all started by lighting a piece of magnesium ribbon which creates a high temperature. They also stuffed the bottom pumpkin with some guncotton because, you know, science.

The second Halloween-themed video shows the power of superconductors and their ability to levitate a small pumpkin off atrack. Its all to do with the strong magnets in the track and a curious property of superconductors: magnetic fields don’t penetrate them, so you can keep an object in a magnetic force field.Anyway, let Andy Marmery explain it for you.

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