How-To Geek

Soda Cans Exploding Under the Stress of High Voltage [Video]

In an effort to start your Monday off in true Mad Scientist style, we bring you soda cans being decimated by thousands of volts in a “Thumper”.

What is a thumper, you ask? During office hours, it’s a high-voltage testing unit most often used to stress test electric cables. In the off hours, however, the electrical engineering geeks over at The Geek Group like to shove anywhere from a few hundred to thousands of volts through unsuspecting objects to see what happens. In this installation they’re shooting high voltage through a variety of soft drink cans with an end result that sounds and looks like a cannon loaded with Mountain Dew.

[via Hacked Gadgets]

Jason Fitzpatrick is a warranty-voiding DIYer who spends his days cracking opening cases and wrestling with code so you don't have to. If it can be modded, optimized, repurposed, or torn apart for fun he's interested (and probably already at the workbench taking it apart). You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 06/12/12

Comments (14)

  1. ThatGuy

    “In an effort to start your Monday off in true Mad Scientist style”

    Only one problem, Monday was yesterday, this was posted today or Tuesday.

  2. Jeff Wahlund

    Decimate means kill one in ten.It doesn’t mean destroy. Look up Roman history.

  3. r

    “Decimate” is derived from Latin (decimare), which now has a host of meanings depending on how it’s used in logic. It’s Roman meaning would be something more like, “…”to take the tenth part of something or anything”. However, decimate has adopted multiple meanings & usages over the ages that include,.”…to severely reduce; to destroy almost completely”. Look up etymology

  4. Kiwini

    Jeff’s right…despite the current misunderstanding of what “decimate” implies, it still means that there’s a ten percent loss. Ask Julius Caesar’s armies.

    Decimate = 10% is used up/gone/destroyed, annihilate means it’s 100% gone, ie: turned into nothing (nihil).

    In spite of the never-ending crap & overused buzzzwords spewed by the media these days, decimate does NOT equal annihlate.

    You can blame most of the confusion on our public school system’s waste of public funds for the last few decades.

  5. ***

    I don’t know who’s right, but I’m more inclined towards r’s response.

    Yes. Well, we don’t live in the time of Julius Caesar’s armies, & this has little to do with the never-ending crap & overused buzzzwords spewed by the media these days, or public school either. Many words & their meanings develop and change over time. This is just a natural course of people and the culture around them. Your generation contributed to this and so did (and will) ever other. If you want to blame something then blame everyone & evolution.

  6. LadyFitzgerald
  7. keltari

    Interesting that no one is talking about the video… granted it wasnt all that interesting, as far as blowing things up go.

    As for the argument about the definition of “decimate,” it has multiple meanings. Thats what the dictionary is for.

  8. Bob

    I’m guessing the reason why people are annoyed by misuses of the word “decimate” is because people don’t bother learning the meaning behind words. These are the same crowd who uses the term “I could care less” or “irregardless”.

    Using “irregardless” as an example: the -less suffix means “without”, so “regardless” means “without regard”. “Irregardless” is a bastardization of the original word made by people who don’t understand basic English structure. The ir- prefix means “not”, so does “irregardless” mean “not without regard”? What’s with the double negative?

    So to go back to “Decimate”. The “deci” comes from the Latin “decem” meaning ten. Do we just ignore the basic structuring of a word and decide it should be used for something completely different?

    TL;DR: People who use the word “decimate” incorrectly are ignorant of basic English etymology and get flustered when people point out their error.

  9. Valens

    Prescriptivist poppycock. Just because something has an “original” meaning, does not imply that the same meaning is useful in modern usage. The meanings of words evolve over time. This is the whole point of a non-dead language.

    Here’s some real linguistic analysis:

    “Everything came from something else, true. Meanwhile, things are as they are now.” Give it up.

  10. Michael

    We need to get a ruling from Merriam Webster on “decimate” :-)
    (one more reason to put Kory Stamper on video is fine with me!)

    Here she is discussing “irregardless”:

  11. Jer

    I just wish I were there! Fun video!

  12. Sue12

    @ Bob

    What you described here has more to do with word origins, not ignorance. “Irregardless” has been bastardized by adding the prefix “ir”, whereas “decimate” has retained it’s construction but expanded in meaning.
    A better comparison would be a word like “fantastic”, which at one time strictly meant “of fantasy; not real”. Today, however, both ignorant & wise people freely use this adjective to mean “wonderful, amazing, excellent, fabulous, etc…”
    There are countless words taken from other languages that we have borrowed and integrated into our own cultures over time that have little or no relation to their origins. That’s not ignorance, it’s the result of integration & communication among cultures –something to be proud of, not censured.

  13. r

    woh!!…I see I’ve helped tap into the nervous systems of several others, very decimating.

    Irregardless, I could care less :)

  14. Pusalieth

    A little of the topic of the argument, and more towards the video. It should be known that’s these so called electrical engineers should have stated high wattage system, not high voltage. You could have a million volts running through something, but only 1/millionth of an amp, and a 9volt battery would produce more wattage. True this is an oversimplification of electricity, but to the point of what I felt needed to be known. There is much misinformation out there, and if I can, I’ll correct it all.

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