It’s a tale as old as time, going back to David and Goliath. It’s also a matter of simple physics: acceleration times mass equals force. That’s how you make a pair of tiny chocolate malt balls blow up a watermelon that probably weighs more than 20 pounds.
The Slow Mo Guys -- known for their slow-motion video feats of silliness, from leaping headlong into 1,000 mouse traps to shooting pellet guns at sticks of deodorant -- managed it with a giant air cannon. They shot the chocolate malt balls at about 800 feet per second (about 545 mph, for the folks counting at home).
“Faster than a .45-caliber round that comes out the muzzle of a pistol,” Slow Mo Guy Daniel Gruchy boasts. It’s also about as fast as a commercial plane cruises on the slow end.
The results of their explosive experimentation proved fruitful. The first attempt, firing one Maltesers chocolate malt ball, carved through the watermelon with impressive strength. But the fun really starts at about 2:35 on the video, with their second attempt -- firing two at the same time. The resulting explosion flung bits of pink watermelon flesh as far as 30 meters (98 feet) away from where the fruit and cannon were set up. The Slow Mo Guys mats were littered with giant chunks of the stuff.
"You'd need to use a sledgehammer to get that effect as a human," Gruchy commented. And you'd need a pretty fast swing to make it splatter 98 feet away.
They also shot the chocolate malt balls through soda cans, a ping pong paddle, vases, and -- perhaps most beautifully -- three panes of shattering safety glass. Watch the rest and marvel at the terror of explosive science.