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Extreme Physics BBQ

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Channel: The Royal Institution
Categories: Cooking   |   Fine Arts   |   Chemistry   |   Science   |   Technology  
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Can you cook a steak with pure electricity or focussed beams of light? And can you fry a prawn with a bottle rocket? Andy invited Greg Foot from Brit Lab to investigate. Don't try any of this at home!
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Watch Andy and Greg try the extreme chemistry approach to cooking on Brit Lab:

What happens when you pump mains electricity through a steak? Armed with a kettle, some forks, and a healthily salted steak, Andy experiments. Needless to say, don’t try this, or any of these experiments, at home. As the electricity is forced through the steak, electrons try to flow through and interact with all the atoms and molecules of the meat. The steak doesn’t conduct electricity very well, so the electrons have to be pushed very hard and transfer energy to the meat, in a process called joule heating.

Not satisfied with that, Andy and Greg cracked out the parabolas. Parabolas focus all the incoming beams into one central focus, meaning that energy normally spread across a wide area can be harnessed to one spot of intensity. Intense enough, in fact, to singe a steak to perfection.

We’ve soared through the science of whoosh bottle rockets before (click here to watch that film: – could they provide the perfect platform for rapid prawn cooking? Perhaps, but there’s a projectile prawn issue to resolve first.

Greg and Andy also investigated the best way to cook a steak using chemistry. Check out their attempts on the Brit Lab channel here:
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