Physics Strange Technology Travel

Watch: Train Tanker Cars Implode

Have you ever seen train tanker cars implode? The atmospheric pressure around us is more powerful than we often realize. What would happen if you took all of the air out of a tanker car? Would it float away?

This railroad tank car demonstration shows the real result: a dramatic implosion. When the air was pumped out of the tank with the vacuum safety valves disabled or removed, the structure held, briefly, then imploded very quickly. This shows why is it important to properly vent (let new air into) a tank car before emptying it. The video may be from a German tv-show in 2007 according to one comment on YouTube. It’s very short, check it out:

Pretty wild. Myth Busters did a similar experiment, but their tank cars did not implode, until they purposefully damaged one according to someone who watched the shows.

“… they ended up swapping the first tank car out for a second one, after the steam cleaning one failed, it got down to 27 inches of mercury and didn’t implode. so they got a different tanker that was older, hoping it would fail, but with this one they pulled a vacuum on it down to 27 inch of mercury and didnt do anything, so they decided to drop a concrete barrier on it and cause exterior damage which then weakened it and aloud it to be imploded at 23 inches of mercury.”

From Cameron Brown

This video shows a first MythBusters attempt with the car not collapsing. It also does not float away.

Here is one where they did get the tank car to collapse, so, yes, train tanker cars implode. You can see the concrete barrier on the ground on the left that was used to damage the car to get it to implode.

We can only guess that the shorter tanker in the German video was more prone to implosion. There are also differences in atmospheric pressure in different locations on the earth.

Atmospheric pressure, also known as barometric pressure… is the pressure within the atmosphere of Earth. … which is equivalent to 760 mm Hg, 29.9212 inches Hg, or 14.696 psi.  … The highest adjusted-to-sea level barometric pressure ever recorded on Earth (above 750 meters) was 1084.8 hPa (32.03 inHg) measured in Tosontsengel, Mongolia on 19 December 2001


True Strange News finds it interesting that you can watch what’s going on almost every day in the world and still not see something interesting like this until 12 years later. We would guess that there must be years of amazing things to see that we have not yet discovered.

Thanks for joining us on the tour of true strange stuff in the universe, past, present and future.


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