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How To Stick Your Fingers Into Molten Lead

Mythbusters' Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman take a hot dip.


Materials:

  • Lead (visit a junkyard or auto repair shop, or purchase fishing weights)
  • Six-inch-deep
  • saucepan or cast-iron pan
  • Industrial burner (the kind used to fry a turkey works well)
  • NIOSH respirators
  • Hot dogs
  • Digital thermometer that reaches 1,000 F (available on Amazon)

1. Go outside. Put the lead in the pan and turn the heat high.

2. Strap on respirators to protect yourself from the gas.

3. The lead will start melting around 621˚F, but don’t dip your fingers in yet! You want it to reach over 850˚F to kick the Leidenfrost effect into action—that’s when the water on your fingers comes into contact with the molten lead. Because the boiling point of lead is higher than water’s, your damp fingers produce an insulating barrier that keeps you from getting burned.

4. Remove a hot dog from the pack­age and make sure it’s still a little bit moist. Hold it above the pot of lead, thrust it down very quickly, and then remove it. If the hot dog doesn’t look dis­-colored, it’s time to use your fingers.

5. Dip your fingers in water so they’re slightly damp. Hold them directly above the molten lead and do a quick dip in and out. Unharmed? Voilà! You are now one step (one tiny step) closer to being a superhero! And remember, this is for informational purposes only. Do not try this at home!

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