Scientists Create a Sound So Loud It Can Practically Boil Water
But don’t try to save time cooking pasta by using this method in your kitchen.
As a high school kid, you may have seen an experiment that went something like this: Your totally cool science teacher put water in a syringe and made it boil simply by pulling the plunger and decreasing the pressure inside. The takeaway of this lesson isn’t “Then why the hell am I wasting my time with this pot and stove?” Instead, it’s meant to prove that “boiling” isn’t strictly about getting water to reach 100 degrees Celsius; “boiling points” stem from a mix of temperature and pressure.
Somewhat along those lines, in a finding far more groundbreaking than what your high school teacher was showing you, a team of researchers at the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory at Stanford University reportedly created a “record-shattering underwater sound” so loud that it literally can’t get any louder – because if it did, it would instantly vaporize all the water around it leaving it nothing for it to travel through. Or to put it another way, an “underwater sound” isn’t “underwater” anymore if there isn’t any “water” left.
The sound pressures created in the experiment clocked in at over 270 decibels, billed as louder than a rocket launch. Thankfully, scientists weren’t able to hear these ear-destroying sounds because they happened in an extremely miniscule form in a laboratory setting. But what they did learn is that if you could get a louder sound, even water probably couldn’t handle it. “It is just below the threshold where [the sound] would boil the water in a single wave oscillation,” lead researcher Claudiu Stan said according to Physics Central.
A less important takeaway is that if you were able to create a 270 decibel sound in your kitchen, you might be able to boil a pot of water instantaneously. But unlike the old “break a wine glass by singing at the right frequency” trick, the “boil water by making a 270 decibel sound” trick probably isn’t going to happen no matter how hard you try. So, seriously, stop it with the cowbell.