A liquid oxygen droplet flattens, rushes back and forth, and then seems to be caught in an invisible trap in the above video. Why does this happen? There are two phenomena at work here: the Leidenfrost effect and paramagnetism.
This simple device regulates its own temperature. Currently, it does nothing more than that. Still, it’s the kind of ridiculously clever machine that will brighten your day, provided you’re a Wallace & Gromit fan.
Want to know how to make a drop of water "walk" in a certain direction? Want to know how to make it walk a little bit, and then pause, as if it were wondering whether it left its front door unlocked? We'll tell you how.
You'll have heard of this effect in high school, but you probably haven't seen this manifestation of it. It makes an ordinary water droplet pulse like it has a heartbeat. And sometimes, it makes the drop form into a pulsing star.
This is no optical illusion – the water droplets you see here are actually rolling uphill. But how?
What happens when you pour beer onto a frying pan? It boils and evaporates, right? Not exactly. The beer sort of turns into this goopy blob that looks like some alien amoeba. Look at it go and tell me you're not going to do this the next time you're drunk (don't do this while you're drunk).
When a drop of water hits a hot enough pan, it doesn't instantly boil away. Instead, the drop's outer layer vaporizes, producing an insulating effect that causes it to skitter across the hot surface. This is known as the Leidenfrost effect, and it can be harnessed for some neat tricks, like the Mythbusters being able…
We've seen water beading on hot surfaces due to the Leidenfrost effect, but this video shows a slow-motion droplet dancing on its cloud of vapor. It's the coolest thing ever, and only lasts for a few seconds.
We've seen water seem to travel uphill in gravity hills. That was an illusion, but physics has found a way to make water zip up some tiny stairs like it's Rocky in a training montage, using the much-beloved Leidenfrost Effect.
It'd be great if the Australian university's research in this field could also be applied to human bodies, so we could shave a few important seconds from our lap-times just by raising our temperatures.
Back in the 18th century, a German doctor called Johann Gottlob Leidenfrost described how water behaves when it hits a mass considerably hotter than its boiling point. But first, watch the 3000-frames-per-second video and see if you can realize what's happening.
Liquid nitrogen is famously one of the world's coldest substances, freezing and shattering anything it comes into contact with. But if you know what you're doing, you can safely stick your hand in it - as one brave blogger demonstrated.
File this under don't try at home, but there is a safe and painless way to dip your hand into liquid nitrogen. The secret? The Leidenfrost effect, which briefly shields your hand from -320° temps with a layer of bubbles.
You may not realize it, but liquids can glide on cushions of vapor. It's called the Leidenfrost Effect, and it's made some pretty awesome superpowers possible - as well as some unfortunate accidents.