Sunday, September 26, 2010
Touching Molten Lead
The Leidenfrost Effect occurs when a liquid, in close contact with a molten metal, creates an insulating vapor layer which keeps the liquid from rapidly boiling (e.g. when you drop water onto a hot pan, if the temperature equals or exceeds the Leidenfrost point, the water skips across the pan and takes longer to evaporate). The liquid vaporizes and the gas encompasses the metal so the liquid doesn't directly touch the metal. Vapor, being a poor conductor of heat, allows for the metal to cool much slower.
See a closeup video.
Some, having figured out the Leidenfrost Effect, like to touch molten lead with their bare fingers ... or even pour it into their mouth.