So, my circuits professor described electrolytic capacitors today, and said that reverse-biasing them could cause a catastrophic, eye-popping explosion. All that in a little metal can? I had to try it! Here's what it takes:

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Patrik8 years ago
Huh - I was just wondering the other day why there was an X scratched in the top of those electrolytic caps - I guess you just found out why: it's an intentional weak point to keep them from exploding! I don't remember seeing this on older caps, so you may be able to scrounge up an old one that is more explosion-prone...
Goodhart Patrik8 years ago
Oh yes, in the day of the cardboard and wax caps, they had this habit of either leaking or blowing their guts all over the inside of radios that did not have well regulated power supplies. I still have a few of those beasts at home; and a few "full metal jacket" 'can' capacitors that have no "weak spots" on them (some the size of a quart can of motor oil) and one "oil filled cap" that is nearly the size of a canteen. Heavy metal outsides to these guys, overloading them turn them into lethal grenades. Nothing to mess with for sure.
shouldn't a wax cap make a wax bomb? Contents heat up, under pressure, steaming wax is leaked. Capacitor shorts out, creating a spark\ kaboooom
Yes, and hot semi-solid wax all over the insides yuck
like lava lamps. another interesting question: what about oil filled caps?
I never drove them "over the top" as they were very high voltage / high powered caps. Overdriving such could create a "grenade" situation I am afraid.
Patrik Goodhart8 years ago

You seem to have missed the point of this thread! :-D
Goodhart Patrik8 years ago
If I set off something inside the Apt. that could put a hole in the old plaster walls and keep going into the neighbor's house, I am afraid you would not hear from me for awhile :-) Maybe once I get out into the country again, where I grew up......hmm, nah, I still won't do it LOL
plus the fire hazard......... your friends house is a much better place.
I have heard milder things explode. I really don't feel the need to take out a 2 inch thick plaster wall LOL What would I put between it and me ? Plexiglas ? No thanks. :-)
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