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Lab Explosions

Blowing resistors has to be one of my favorite past-times. They are easy to blow, cheap and make a bright flash and smoke when you run 120V through them. Since I love both blowing resistors and doing stuff in my Hazmat suits, the idea of combining the two was very attractive. Part of the reason suiting up is so exciting is that it involves an essence of danger; after all, the suit is designed to protect the wearer from toxic chemicals and gasses. The idea of blowing the resistors is that you are working in a chemical lab, all the sudden something goes horribly wrong, small fireballs begin shooting up from your experiment, smoke is everywhere, thank god you are sealed inside that gas-tight suit! The resistors I usually use are 100K; I get them in rolls of 100 for about $2.50 from a local electronics supply shop. Hook-up is really simple. Take an old extension cord and cut the female end off (The one without the prongs) Strip the insulation back so there is about 4 inches of the outer insulation peeled off. Then strip of the inner insulation off of both the hot and neutral, then wrap the exposed wire around the leads of the resistor. Now plug the extension cord into the wall (Making sure you are not holding onto the resistor!) and with in a few seconds the resistor will swell up, go brown and burst into flames for several seconds then fizzle out. Unfortunately each resistor is only single use, but all you have to do is take the old one off and put on a new one (UNPLUG THE CORD FIRST!!!). You can also twist several resistors together either in series or parallel to get a better affect. Now that you know hot to blow resistors and how much fun it can be, you will probably want to move on to something more complex, such as having several resistors go off in a sequence, Ive got the problem licked again! See Computerized Lab for the next step.

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