How To: Launch a cork rocket using an LED

OK, this should make up for the intestinal worm.

In this video, you'll learn how to use an ultraviolet LED to kickstart a chemical reaction capable of sending a cork flying halfway across a lecture hall. It's a hazardous science demonstration! Hooray!

Quick note: The sound quality gets a little sketchy at times. If you click on the CC option in the lower-right corner of the player window you'll be able to read the English subtitles.

Video Link


  1. How does this work again?

    Say if I pass a current through salt water with 2 pencil rod, add ultraviolet light = kaboom?

  2. They recorded the reaction using a 480-FPS camera.  It *looked like* a simple point-and-shoot.  Does anybody know what model this was?  If it is affordable, I have to get me one of those.

    1. Maybe this one? $239.99
      Movie Size:1920×1080 High/Standard Quality, 1280×720 Standard Quality, 640×480, 320×240, 432×320, 224×160, 192×64,* Speed Dial (1000 fps, 420fps, 240 fps, 60fps, 30fps, 10sec(timer), 2sec(timer)),* Format:H.264 (Max. Recording time:20min.),* Stereo recording with volume control, mute during zoom operation (user option),* Voice(On/Off), OIS(On/Off),* Movie capture button,* Smart Auto Movie (Landscape, Blue Sky, Natural Green, Sunset),Full-size Dual Capture

  3. I remember learning about this reaction as a kid.  A balloon, filled with hydrogen gas and chlorine gas.  Then you light a strip of magnesium some distance away (or generate sufficient UV light some other way), and ka-blammo.  What I always wondered (any chemists out there know?) was whether you’d end up with a rain of HCl acid when the balloon burst, ’cause if so, what a naughty thing to bring to a birthday party.

    Be an interesting way to take out one of the guards at a movie villain’s HQ, however.

  4. No, Maggie- this did not make up for your worm video.  It’s going to take more than things popping out of cylinders to … oh wait  GAH!

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