Red hot nickel ball brings the heat when it meets Silly Putty

first_imgMany of us probably spent time playing with Silly Putty during childhood, and maybe beyond. What? Silly putty is neat. This blob of synthetic silicone polymers (PMDS) was created by accident decades ago through research into rubber substitutes. Since then it has been sold as a toy, and now it comes down to this. Silly Putty meets the Red Hot Nickel Ball (RHNB).Silly Putty is so popular because it has such odd properties. It bounces when thrown, tears when pulled quickly, and is pliable when tugged at slowly. It can even drip if left over an opening or at the edge of a table for long enough. These properties make it probably the most commonly available non-Newtonian fluid available. But the RHNB cares not for physics, be they Newtonian or not. All it cares about is being red hot and burning stuff.When the RHNB is introduced to the Silly Putty, there is no instantaneous melting like you might expect. Silly Putty is basically a very viscous liquid. It slowly deforms as the RHNB pours heat into it. The Silly Putty catches fire and the bonds in the PMDS are broken down. Parts of the mass get flaky and crumble, but the bulk of the putty not in direct contact with the RHNB continues to flow a little easier.We can certainly still call the RHNB the winner here. After a quick dip it’ll be good as new. The Silly Putty is much less silly now. Still, it held up pretty well.last_img

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