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BriarProf

Water Balls: True Science or Internet Hoax [Answered: HOAX]

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I recently came across a YT video showing a proposed substance that when it "comes in contact with air, loses its polar ability and sticks to itself, transforming into solid water spheres."

 

I figure that the best place to get the truth is here, so I have two questions.

 

1) Is the video giving truthful information, and this experiment is possible?

 

2) If the answer to question 1 is yes, where is the best place to get Calcium Bicarbonate and Calcium Acetate? (The author of another video states Wal-Mart may carry them, but I have doubts.)

 

YT Videos:

http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=vCeAfKCC2ng

and

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x_kYkFy5-jI&NR=1

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Wow that looks fun :D

 

The "explanation" sounds sort of rightish, since when you highly polarise a substance you reduce it's surface tension, so to completely depolarize it you'd give it high surface tension.

 

At a guess I'd say the last thing you'd want to be in excess would be the vinegar, because that has a polarising effect, so if you don't put enough bicarb in it probably won't work.

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fake. what you will end up with is a solution of sodium ethanoate and calcium ethanoate this wil do nothing special.

 

as these are ionic species they will not lose 'polar ability'.

 

and flashman, increasing polarization will increase surface tension as it is intermolecular forces that cause surface tension. the more polar the molecules then the stronger the intermolecular forces and hence the higher the surface tension.

 

what i think is happening in these videos(apart from a con, especially as the second asks you to heat vinegar to more than double its boiling point in an open pot) is that he has got some spheres of a substance(probably plastic) with the same refractive index as water. this means that when they are in the water they are effectively invisible as they won't bend the light going through them. when removed they will become easily visible as they will bend light passing through.

 

i suspect that if you were allowed to see it in real life the balls would be somewhat visible on close inspection. on a youtube video, well lets just say your not going to notice anything slight.

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hmmm perhaps I'm thinking backwards again... however, the only way that is possible is to have high surface tension.

 

Sodium ethanoate does nothing special?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sodium_acetate

 

Seems to me it's some combination of supercooling and adding table salt to stop it crystalising. Seems there's a lot of voodoo chemistry in those clips though, that heat to 550 degrees thing is obviously wrong. I think basically you're just making sure there's no crystals of the acetate forming..

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It could be due to index of refraction matching between the salt water and maybe glass balls. The result would be the glass balls not being visible. If the air was causing the surface tension needed for the balls, the liquid in the container should also display an odd meniscus since it is also in contact with the air. This is only a guess, but that is how I would simulate this affect. The rest is video editing.

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i see nothing special in its properties there. most salts can be used to form supersaturated solutions. a lot of crystalisations are also exothermic.

 

its still not going to form balls of water.

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It could be due to index of refraction matching between the salt water and maybe glass balls. The result would be the glass balls not being visible.

Give that man a cigar!

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I watched more closely again. It seemed "real" at first because the poor quality video made it look like they ran together when tipped off his hand, also one time he dropped one it looked a little like it squished out from between his fingers. However, with replaying and getting a better feed (do video sites drop quality with demand sometimes?? seems like it) then they appear more solid, and more suspect, particularly when the surface of the liquid looks bumpy.

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i haven't tried it myself. But a friend told me he replicated the same hoax by using toy "marbles" that expand when added to water. I never asked him the name but he said the toys consisted of some kind of polymer that absorbed alot of water and thus had the very similar density and refractive index of water when fully hydrated.

 

While i didn't test it myself, i have other reasons for disbelieving the video.

 

It's pretty clear the balls in the video had to be pre-made in some way.... Why are all the balls the same size? if the effect is truly just between air and water with no other forces then there should be randomness to the size of the balls. just like there is a randomness to the size of soap bubbles when you shake a bottle of soapy water. While one may argue all the little balls fell to the bottom.... where are the great big giant balls?

 

Found it:

 

http://www.watergelball.com/

 

http://www.crystalsoil.co.nz/Information.htm

 

It's called "crystal soil" the gel beads can absorb 100 times their own weight in water. They feel like gel and because they're 99% water they appear to dissappear in water when you put it in. They expand to quite a large size from dry form.

 

In fact, a simpler form is closer than you think: diapers

 

Diapers have the same absorbent polymer. Tear open a diaper (a NEW one, not a used one...) and you'll find powder inside that absorbs water in the same way.

 

It won't give you the big marbles you see in the vids because its finely crushed powder but it will expand and appear invisible in water.

 

The "crystal soil" is basically larger beads of the same stuff.

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If I were trying to get that effect I would use glass marbles and glycerine, but I'm sure lots of things would work.

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just noticed but my contact lenses do nearly the same thing. it can be quite difficult to see them when they are in the solution but easy to see once you get them out.

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Yes, it has to do with the index of refraction. If the two indices are close enough, the light rays pass right through the interface between the two substances and virtually no light is reflected from the surface at all, rendering the object invisible. Glass and vegetable oil are a classic example; fill a beaker with vegetable oil and then put a glass test tube in it and it will seemingly vanish (index of refraction for glass and oil ≈ 1.5, water = 1.3).

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Wow, I didn't expect such a response. Thanks for all your answers, I had thought there was something wrong in those videos. I knew I'd get the truth here, thanks again. :D

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well i'm know that this is probably bogus but i think we should try this out if anyone hasn't, because the absorbtion from those water polymer would make them irregularly shaped like sodium polyacrilate

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By the way something that actually works is water forming liquid spheres (probably up to something like 2mm in diameter) on the surface of "hairy" hydrophobic materials. It looks quite awesome.

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Another thing occured to me while watching the "finale" -- if these truly were "water-beads", forming out of the water drops that were picked up, then they would have (1) different shapes and (2) try to 'absorb one another' - they wouldn't stay perfectly round and solid when there are a few of them next to one another.

 

If the substance is supposed to be polarized (or lose its polarity, whatever) - it would do so consistently; not just with accordance to the size of beads the film-maker happened to have in his possession ;)

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Then of course there are the "normal" drops of liquid running off his fingers when he pulls the balls out of the tub.

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Yes this is a hoax I've used these beads myself they appear invisible in water unless they've been dyed. (mine were blue)

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hey just thought that i would leave this here for those who wanted to make these with the original product.

http://www.dunecraft...peryspheres.htm

also if you were interested in this then there are other cool things you can do with sodium acetate like make hot ice for instance.

>

I have made the sodium acetate trihydrate myself and it works, however I did not make the video and as it says you can just buy some of the substance online, but what is the fun in that.

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Those balls in the video are available in the market for a price as low as below sea level. I brought them in feed them to my dog. The balls became invisible.

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