Some people are obsessed with playing with fire. Following a similar vein, a person going by the YouTube alias WorldScott is obsessed with lasers -- and occasionally the explosive reactions they can cause.
In his latest endeavor -- there are a couple dozen laser videos credited to WorldScott -- the laser junkie shows us how to use a laser beam to allegedly* ignite a firecracker inside a balloon. What he wants to figure out is if the laser will cause the balloon to pop. Turns out it does and it doesn't. It all depends on the color of the balloon.
Check out the footage to see:
In the description, WorldScott explains how this works (and why the clear balloon doesn't pop):
The balloon used in this demonstration was not fully inflated. Fully inflated balloons will not behave in the same manner. The laser does not pop the transparent balloon because the energy of the laser beam light passes through it virtually unhindered. In the bonus clip the balloons pop because they are darker and opaque. Material that is generally darker, opaque and not overly reflective absorbs the light energy and converts it into heat. The heat burns the balloon and causes it to fail and pop.
Amazingly, as you saw, the transparent balloon remains in tact. WorldScott uses a 1,000 mW blue light laser to conduct this experiment. Some YouTube commenters who are a little skeptical pose the question why the laser beam shows up so well in the footage, and WorldScott explains he filled the room with smoke to enhance visibility of the laser.
If you didn't stick it out for the bonus clip of WorldScott exploding colored balloons toward the end, here it is:
WorldScott has also used lasers to burst water balloons and pop popcorn. See more of those videos here.
*You just never know with viral videos like this.