Thermite just might be the most understated, super dangerous, crazy hot, ultra flashy weaponized agent on the planet. A mixture of powdered metals combined and ignited in just the right way, thermite can burn at over 4,000 degrees Fahrenheit and cut through cold, hard steel.
Yet, if you want it to (as the military sometimes does, during covert operations), it can do all that with little sound and no explosion. Of course, some people want the explosion…
British Internet celebrity inventor Colin Furze likes to make things. And he really likes to make things go boom. His YouTube oeuvre is a brash mix of crazy homemade vehicles and even crazier homemade weapons. His newest creation? A thermite cannon.
While commercial welders use precision thermite reactions for heavy-duty railway repairs, and the U.S. military uses careful thermite deployment for stealthy missions, Furze uses thermite in just about the way you’d expect from a guy whose official bio begins:
“By the comments n messages i get on youtube and the things people ask me everyone seems to think i’m some some sort of mechanic/engineer person but in reality i’m just a plumber.”
As you can see above, Furze prefers to fire his thermite cannon at things like petroleum and fireworks, which certainly makes for some very big booms. And as big as those explosions are, perhaps the craziest thing is that, as he ignites the thermite just inches from his hands, not once does he wear gloves.
For more incredible explosions, watch an underground nuclear test, a supernova explosion, and the sun’s awe-inspiring coronal mass ejection. Next, read more on thermite with this rundown of crazy chemical reactions you can — but probably shouldn’t — try at home. Then, learn about about the fate that hopefully won’t befall Colin Furze: inventors killed by their own inventions.