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9.5 Million People Have Watched This NASA Engineer Turn Solid Sand Into “Liquid Soup.”

Mark Rober is a mechanical engineer who worked at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory for nearly a decade, so it’s pretty safe to say this guy’s both creative and mechanically adept. Since leaving the JPL, he’s become a YouTube personality with more than 2.5 million subscribers, producing an eclectic series of videos with topics ranging from science to DIY projects.

Want to know how to make a high-tech Halloween costume? How to make a mural out of human hair? He’s got you covered.


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This creative genius is causing quite a stir and more than a little consternation with his most recent release, which essentially explains the concept behind fluidized beds. In layman’s terms, that means turning large quantities of small, solid substances like sand or beads into liquid form.


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This may either sound like science fiction, witchcraft or something that necessitates a deep understanding of physics. But it’s really not that complicated, and the components are simple enough to find. All you need are some PVC pipes…


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An air compressor …


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Sand, and a container.


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When you blow air into the bottom of a container filled with sand, that increases the space between the particles of sand. Since there’s less friction, the particles move around more freely, almost as if they’ve been transformed into liquid form.


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“If you take a tub of sand like this and add air in just the right way, it basically becomes a liquefied soup,” Mark explains. “With the air on, the surface is frictionless, like an air hockey table. And then when you cut off the air, it freezes everything exactly where it’s at.”


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You know that saying, “Go big or go home?” Yeah, Mark takes that to heart. He decides to recreate this experiment in a hot tub – yes, you read that right – and have some fun with his young nephews.

“Dude. It’s like having Doc Brown for an uncle. What’s he done this time?”


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Chances are they’ve probably come to expect stuff like this from their quirky uncle. Still, their reactions are priceless!


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So, have an old hot tub lying around that you’ve been dying to repurpose? Maybe a kiddie wading pool is a little more realistic for the rest of us. Either way, check out the video below to see how it’s done, and remember to share!

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