Episode 26: Salsa Escape, Cement Removal

Air Date: February 23, 2005

Salsa was used by a Mexican prisoner to corrode the window bars of his cell and escape.

plausible

Given several years, it would be possible, due to the corrosive elements of the salsa. The use of electrolysis via a direct current source in conjunction with the salsa accelerated the effect, as it draws the electrons out of the bars and into the wires.

A urine-soaked silk shirt is strong enough to bend the bars of a prison cell when wrapped around them and twisted, as seen in the film Shanghai Noon.

busted

Adam tested this myth after he gave up on his salsa/alternating current escape plan. The bars proved too strong for the wet silk, tearing the fabric apart instead of bending under it.

A stick of dynamite can clean the leftover scraps of concrete from the inside of a cement truck.

plausible

A powder charge equivalent to 1½ sticks of dynamite worked well and loosened or dislodged a lot of the dried excess concrete without noticeably damaging the barrel.

A stick of dynamite can remove a slab of concrete from the inside of a cement truck.

busted

A solid slab of concrete is too hard to remove practically, and is tougher than the barrel itself. The MythBusters enlisted the aid of FBI explosive experts to load the truck and barrel with 850 pounds of commercial blasting agent. The resulting explosion reduced the truck to numerous very small fragments, and a few larger pieces; the observers had to stand a mile away from the explosion. Billed as the biggest-ever explosion on the show, Jamie admitted that "This has got nothing to do with the myth; it’s just a big boom".

28 Comments

  1. Daryl Lyons says:

    A stick of dynamite can remove a slab of concrete from the inside of a cement truck.
    You claim to have busted this claim, however I have done many such jobs.
    To start with you can not compare black powder (a low explosive, to dynamite (a high explosive).
    The velocity of detonation is much high for a high explosive,and has a cracking action.
    So boys the bottom line is. IF DONE CORRECTLY CONCRETE CAN BE BROKEN INSIDE A CONCRETE TRUCK. I have done it many times.

    • jenny says:

      wow, i have to do report for class about this myth and if it was acyully scientific…….do u think that it was????

  2. Jehu says:

    I totaly agree with Daryl.
    The trick is that you have to drill into the middle of the concrete and put the charge in that hole. The boys only put the charge on top of the slab where it would do nothing at all. A very poor effort.
    Also the case that I am familar with used gelignite, well a home made varient using fertiliser and deisel. It was done in Sydney, Australia, in the early 1980′s.

    This despratly needs a revisit.

  3. Chris says:

    If you have to drill a hole into the wall it seems like it would be getting outside the realm of the myth, unless you are the buddy of the imprisoned guy, and if you are, then shrapnel would be a huge problem.

  4. AlwaysWrecked says:

    The point of the myth was that the concrete would be blown clean out of the truck without any manual labor. The idea was not just that the concrete would be broken apart. The claim of the myth that they were attacking was not that dynamite could not break apart the concrete, but that with one stick of dynamite the truck would be completely cleared of concrete. The myth also implied no drilling was necessary. They never said that it was impossible to remove the concrete via explosives over time or by using further technique to enhance the performance of the explosive. They were testing if a stick of dynamite was introduced to a truck, as is, and ignited that there would be nothing to do but shovel the remaining fragments of concrete from the truck.

  5. RICH says:

    it’s simple that some laws of physics were blatently ignored in this mythbusting. first thing you have to do is figure a way to rotate the barrel so the slab is top dead center, then simply throw the 1 and 1/2 stick of dynamite in the truck, try you just might be impressed.

  6. Damon says:

    I wonder how much electricity was going through that salsa: the idea of getting a radio and modifying it get DC current without guards noticing it is a little far fetched… not to mention taking apart a light fixture. However, if you could do the same thing with a simpler DC source (a battery perhaps) it might be more reasonable for actually applying this tactic, though I’m not sure if it would produce enough electrical current to get any results. Perhaps a car battery? Several dry cells?

    Also, you’d need to do this to both ends of a bar to get the desired effect of actual escape. Would setting up a second device like this at the top of the bar work, or would the two currents produce undesired results?

  7. Ben says:

    The bending of the bars “busted” was done completely wrong. I’m sure if you try bending 12-15″ prison bars with any fabric you’re going to snap the fabric. In the movie, the bars were floor-to-ceiling prison bars (figure 7-8 feet). There’s actually room for give when applying the force from the fabric. I think this one needs a revisit.

  8. Coney Yucca says:

    So, we’re doing an experiment on the salsa and we’d like some more information.

    • jenny says:

      uuummm if u are doing an experement, dont eat the salsa……even if it looks good

  9. crystal says:

    That was an excellent job with the cement truck dynamite myth. I always expect a big boom fro you guys and i loved seeing that truck fly in all directions. Good thing nobody got hit!

  10. Alliston says:

    Busted or not, this IS my favourite episode to date. You blow up a lot of things of your show, but Cement Removal is still the best one!
    You guys rock!

    • MSpears says:

      And they got rid of that pesky cement slab!

      Ok, they got rid of the TRUCK, too, but at least the cement is gone. :)

      • jenny says:

        yaaaaa the cement was all that mattered right????? even if they had 2 stand 1mile away

  11. Dejan says:

    i think that stick of dynamite can do the job,but it must be set outside of the truck,on the mixer,thick plate atached to the outside of the mixer and some explosive atached on plate in 3 or 4 positions will remove the cement, also explosive charges must be activated with delay,or detonation from oposite direction will reduce the other blast.
    sorry for my english i learn it from the movies:-)

  12. Loren says:

    One day I was waiting for the ferry in Alameda. Behind me I heard little bits of a conversation…”mutter…mutter…explosion…mutter…mutter…cement truck.” I turned to them and said, “You’re talking about Mythbusters, right?” They were.

    • jenny says:

      nice how u would just go and ask;)

  13. Riki Watson says:

    hi im not realy sure its works but in your, urine-soaked silk shirt is strong enough to bend the bars. u used a modern machined silk shirt. in the time of the myth it would of been raw silk or today its called dupion silk used 4 wedding dresses its ALOT stronging, more so on the width of the fabric.ps your bar was way to short. in the movie it was at least 3/4 times longer. might be worth retrying ty Riki

  14. Tim Harrop says:

    Hi, well you boys forgot that when you want to break a rock you don’t just stick the dynamite ontop of the rock and expect it to break. That will never work. So Adam and Jamie you clowns why don’t you try using a impact drill and drill a hole one or two foot into your concrete slab and then stick your explosive into the hole and see what happens. Because that is the normal practise for breaking large rocks. Maybe you two should get out a little bit more!
    Really i thought you guys knew better than that!!
    Lift your game! – Tim

    • MSpears says:

      Unfortunately, Tim, those were the conditions of the myth. That was what they had to test. I’m sure they knew that drilling a hole in the concrete and dropping the dynamite in the hole would work much better.

  15. scott says:

    A urine-soaked silk shirt is strong enough to bend the bars of a prison cell when wrapped around them and twisted, as seen in the film Shanghai Noon; the bars you attempted to bend were significantly shorter then ones used in the film. with more length you get more leverage and then it is possible.

  16. Trent says:

    I agree with the last couple of guys.

    Shanghai Noon, the bars were full length. In your attempt they were only, what 12 inches long.

    Retry it with pure silk material and full length bars.

  17. Kevin Forbes says:

    Quote “A powder charge equivalent to 1½ sticks of dynamite worked well and loosened or dislodged a lot of the dried excess concrete without noticeably damaging the barrel.”

    A powder charge can never be equivalent to any dynamite or gelignite charge, due to V.O.D. and anyone making claims to such equivalents is only misleading the public completely

  18. JillyKaren says:

    Hi guys – with regards to the result of the Salsa Escape, you found that the salsa was more corrosive than the saline/acid/water mix, but weren’t sure why. Any chance it could have something to do with the capsaicin in the hot peppers of the salsa?

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  20. vince says:

    i used to work at a readymix plant and always wanted to blow that mixer up thanks

    • jenny says:

      that is totley creepy that you would be at work and just wondering what it would be like to blow up stuff……..I feel soooooo sorry for your co-workers

  21. Blake c says:

    The blast with the FBI used 850 pounds of ANFO
    Detonated from 1 mile away

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