Remember when Newschannel 3 popped a pumpkin using rubber bands?
With summer in full swing we wondered, how many rubber bands would it take to pop a watermelon?
We broke down the science behind it!
If you recall, it all comes down to physics! As you add a rubber band, there is a force applied to the surface. You can't tell with the naked eye, but at the microscopic level, the surface deforms a bit with the addition of each rubber band. As the band tries to contract, the force it creates moves and displaces molecules on the surface of the watermelon. That movement at the surface is so small, it takes a lot of rubber bands applied to one general area of the watermelon before surface deformation is noticeable.
Once there is enough force, the rubber bands weaken the bonds of the molecules and the watermelon explodes!
So how many rubber bands did it take for our pumpkin to pop? 353 rubber bands!
What about the watermelon? 616 bands! Nearly double the amount it took to pop the pumpkin, but why?
The answer: density.
A pumpkin is primarily hollow, even with the seeds and guts inside. A watermelon has more mass inside, making it denser. With a higher density, more force is needed for it to pop!
Disclaimer: while doing this experiment, necessary safety gear was worn. Do not attempt to recreate, as injury to you, others or property damage may occur.