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The Slow Mo Guys Visit GE Labs and Get Scientific

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The generally mischievous pair on youtube who film their antics in extreme slow motion using a digital high-speed camera, capable of shooting over 10000 frames a second, the Slow Mo Guys, were invited by GE to visit their labs in New York to film some fascinating techniques with their speciality cameras. At this time, there are three videos available for us to take a slow motion look at superhydrophobic surfaces, magnetic liquid, MEMs lights, and cold spray of metal powders.

“The first experiment (on the Slo Mo Guys youtube channel) shows a superhydrophobic surface that GE has been working on. Surfaces like this can be useful in aviation and wind power to reduce ice build-up or for self-cleaning applications. The surface traps a layer of air using its nanoscopic structure, which prevents water from sticking.
The second experiment also demonstrates how the nanoscale differs from the macroscale, this time with iron filings. Iron filings at the macroscale can be easily distinguished from the liquid they are in. When reduced to the nanoscale, magnetic nanoparticles can behave like a liquid magnet. Gav and Dan demonstrate this by showing magnetic liquid flowing upwards against gravity towards a magnet.”

The next two videos by Gavin and Dan are available on GE’s youtube channel:

“Learn how GE uses MEMS technology to make electrical switches smaller, faster, lighter and more efficient in industrial, healthcare and consumer applications. MEMS (Micro Electromechanical Systems) describes a class of miniature moving silicon microdevices, often not much bigger than the width of a hair, that many of us are familiar with for providing the sensing capability for car airbags and motion sensing in mobile devices and gaming systems. See the Slow Mo Guys use the GE lab to film MEM lights that switch on and off as fast as 10,000 times per second.”

“See the Slow Mo Guys film GE researchers demonstrate a process called “cold spray”, in which metal powders are sprayed at high velocities to build a part or add material to repair an existing part. GE researchers are exploring this 3D painting technology as an alternate way to repair or coat parts involved in oil and gas drilling and turbo machinery. To see the process on film, the Slow Mo Guys spray copper particles 10 times bigger than normally used for this process.”

Nice work, Gavin and Dan! Personally, I’d love to see more scientific demonstrations!

Joanne Manaster About the Author: Joanne Manaster is a university level cell and molecular biology lecturer with an insatiable passion for science outreach to all ages. Enjoy her quirky videos at, on twitter @sciencegoddess and on her Facebook page at JoanneLovesScience Follow on Twitter @sciencegoddess.

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.

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  1. 1. Uncle.Al 11:44 am 01/7/2014

    “Cold pray” can co-deposit reactive materials (aluminum or titanium plus nickel, titanium or tantalum plus graphite or boron) to become an otherwise unmachinable intractable bonded (thick) surface created under overall mild conditions. Nice.

    One could be a wag and blast in micronized teflon-coated aluminum. That could be an interesting video.

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