Episode 107: Water Stun Gun

Air Date: September 17, 2008

You can create a stun gun that effectively delivers a shock over distances via a stream of water.

busted

The MythBusters tested various commercial water guns to see if they could create a steady, unbroken stream of water, which is essential for the conduction of electricity. None of them achieved this, so the MythBusters built their own custom water gun and attached a commercial stun gun to provide the electricity. They tested the amount of electricity a stream of water could deliver to a target, and discovered that the voltage dropped significantly as distance to the target increased, making the gun impractical to use at long distances and busting the myth. In order to see what it would take to have a water stun gun work at a distance, the Mythbusters used a tesla coil to power the gun with up to a million volts. The gun worked at a distance, and the lightning bolt could clearly be seen traveling down the stream of water. However, the rig remained impractical due to its size.

The act of walking over hot coals is purely a mind-over-matter act and cannot be explained by science.

busted

The Build Team theorized that feet don’t get burned when walking over coals because the ash on the coals forms an insulating layer and also because the foot does not stay in contact with the coals for a long period. When they tried coal walking themselves, they were able to easily crossed the coals. The team noted that they felt confident because of their faith in physics.

If thrown into a fire, a carbon fire extinguisher with a safety valve will explode and put out the fire.

busted

The carbon fire extinguisher did not explode due to the safety valve, and merely vented its contents over a span of fifteen minutes.

If thrown into a fire, a water fire extinguisher will explode and put out the fire.

busted

The water fire extinguisher did better than the carbon fire extinguisher, but didn’t manage to extinguish the flames entirely.

If thrown into a fire, a chemical foam extinguisher will explode and put out the fire.

plausible

The chemical foam extinguisher actually ruptured, but only put out the flames because the explosion scattered the fuel, rather than actually snuffing out the flame.

If thrown into a fire, a carbon fire extinguisher without a safety valve will explode and put out the fire.

plausible

Like the chemical extinguisher, the carbon fire extinguisher exploded, putting out the fire by scattering the fuel rather than actually extinguishing it.

22 Comments

  1. Jacob Diaz says:

    can a phone book about 1 inch thick stop a bullet.

  2. mIstA says:

    Well, it definitly can, but on the other hand it can not, for sure. – The rest is up to your imagination of what kind of bullet is used. ;)

  3. Scrilda Dotson says:

    We were told that a neighbor had set off a “canister of household chemicals to where the trofjectory was picked on radar at Fort Knox and his launch equipment was confiscated by the army. My kids want to know if this is true. My parents lived very close to the tank range and there are other details that you might be able to check out for truth or fiction. I don’t know if the neighbor still lives close by but I know it was supposed to have happened about 1985. I have an idea about what he used but don’t think I should post it here.

  4. Adam Arbiser says:

    i want you guys to take a bunch of C4 or any huge explozive put it in a dump truck and blow it up. For fun.

  5. Jubilee says:

    dear Mythbusters, do you think you can test if a person in a room will suffocate to death slowly if there’s a fan on in the room and the door and windows are closed?

  6. Joe Bringmann says:

    Re Water Stun Gun:

    Did you think of using salt water in the gun? Salt water will conduct electricity much better than fresh water.

    • christian east says:

      i actually think that salt water will do better

  7. Richard Landgraff says:

    Joe’s idea is great. Which leads to another myth to investigate. Supposedly, pure distilled water will NOT conduct electricity. But water with any chemicals in it (especially metal or nitrates) will conduct electricity and is the medium for electroplating gold, silver, nickel, chrome, etc.

  8. Ashley says:

    I had the same idea as joe (salt water stun gun), although I was wondering if there was anything else that can be added to water to make it more conductive.

    • christian east says:

      a battery maybe?

  9. lucas says:

    Regarding the water stun gun, were you using tap water? Clean water does not conduct electricity very well. If you add salt, an electrolyte, the solution will conduct electricity much better. I hope to see this revisited ;)

  10. qwert says:

    The reason Adam burned his feet is because he did it during the day. Notice that the firewalking clinic and the other three mythbusters did the fire walk at night… this not only adds to the dramatic effect and looks good on camera, but allows the walkers to see where the red hot coals are and avoid them.

    • iDoSoLikeGreenAndHam says:

      I agree. Poor mistreated Adam. They showed that one side of the coal was 900 degrees and the other side was 300 degrees. Those who walked on the coal surely made use of the visibility of the red vs black coals and so surely knew that Adam was lacking that key information about where not to step.

  11. Matthew Plunkett says:

    About the water stungun myth, can you replace the water with mercury? I think this will work because mercury is a liquid like water and is a metal which conduct electricity easily. After you try that, I want you to shoot the mercury stungun through the tesla coil and see what happens.

  12. Janae says:

    For those who are suggesting they make sure the water had ions (and wasn’t distilled)…what, do you think these guys are stupid?

    And the reason he burned his feet was discussed in the episode. He curled his toes in his nervousness and caused coal pieces to stick to his feet and the prolonged contact lead to burning.

  13. no says:

    .45 ACP will stop in approx. 1-2″ of a phone book. .38 special is also likely to stop in 1″-2″ of phone book. These are low velocity projectiles. Hollowpoints and wadcutter ammo stops the quickest.

  14. Kenneth Bunch says:

    If you added common table salt to the water in the water Stun Gun it will be able to carry an electric charge.Please let me know when this updated episode will be aired so I will not miss it.Thank you for your time & you can reach me on my Email site.

  15. Ludo says:

    Water Stun Gun. Dear MythBusters laminar flow nozzle will provide steady unbroken stream of water. Also salty water has better rate of flow of electric charge.

  16. engineer mike says:

    I didn’t see the stun gun episode (no cable here), and just found this by accident. I have a suggestion: electricity has to have a return path for (electric) current flow. That’s why a stun gun fires two needles. Why not fire two very fine streams of water (some salt added), with the plus voltage on one stream, and the negative voltage on the other?

  17. christian east says:

    okay I know the fire ex. myth was
    half plausible but mythbuster try putting all 3 ex.in.

  18. christian east says:

    when it gets too hot in my room I think of cool things in life like ice cream so grant try that

  19. christian east says:

    about bug foggers you could try putting a little house fire and then
    ………KABOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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