Balloon Burst Wave Propagation
Below, you can see a slow motion video of a balloon being burst. (File Size - 2.28 MB) © Most Rights Reserved
The balloon is filled with a very fine white powder, similar to talcum powder. When the balloon bursts, the 'bang' propagates out in all directions. The powder allows us to try to visualise this propagation. A split second after the burst, the powder remains 'in place' as a bright white ring of similar shape and size to the balloon. Then, the air movement associated with the explosion forces the powder outwards in all directions. As it spreads, you will notice that it fades into a grey smoke as the powder disperses. The same total amount of powder is present - it is simply spread over a larger area. This provides another insight into the inverse-square law.