22 Scientific Discoveries Average Joes Made By Accident

Super glue and cotton don’t mix
22 Scientific Discoveries Average Joes Made By Accident

Lots of scientific breakthroughs were made by accident. Alexander Fleming grew penicillin in a petri dish he left out while he was on vacation. Sweet’N Low was a byproduct of experimentation with coal tar. The Professor accidentally spilled Chemical X into sugar, spice and everything nice and created the Powerpuff Girls.

But those guys were all scientists. Even if they didn’t know what they were creating, they had some idea of the underlying principles involved. By contrast, the average person’s understanding of science ends at “baking soda plus vinegar equals cool volcano,” so they’re always stumbling upon scientific properties already known by people smarter than they are.

Take, for example, user narelie, who “put super glue on my daughter's backpack and it burst into flames,” as they told r/AskReddit. It turns out that cotton and super glue don’t mix, and “the cotton lining on her backpack was very thin and had some sort of a coating on it that must've acted as an additional accelerant.” 

They then asked, “What strange science things have you discovered firsthand, by accident?,” and the Nobel Committee should stand at the ready.

Dstroyer71 12y ago Epoxy catching fire when mixed wrong.
leetttoille 12y ago If you mix dry ice and rubbing alcohol you get a supercold liquid that can quickly freeze many objects.
bombsaway1979 12y ago Wood lacquer can catch on fire if you wipe some of it on a towel/rag, ball it up and leave it somewhere.
pavewoment 12y ago What happens when you microwave sugar? Caramel! I felt like the smartest damn 10 year old on the planet.
thasodd 12y ago Put gasoline in bucket. Throw firecracker in bucket. Gas did not catch fire. Clearly the next logical thing to do is light the firecracker inside of the bucket with my head right above it. So yea, it's the vapor that catches fire ...
pudgypenguin 12y ago my boyfriend and i put cologne in a metal coffee can, and set it on fire. it still had the plastic label on the outside. it did this really cool effect where it start and the top and a beam of fire would move down the outside of the can. that was kinda cool.
Kadmium 12y ago We were doing an electronics lesson in science class and had been given variable voltage transformers and alligator clips. I, having heard that graphite from mechanical pencils could work similarly to the filament in light bulbs, decided to connect it to the transformer. At three volts, nothing happened. At six volts, again nothing. At nine volts, I'd almost given up. At twelve volts, it shone very brightly for about a second and a half, and then exploded in a shower of scalding-hot molten carbon. Science. Painful, burning science.
gaatar 12y ago A few years ago I was connecting my VHS player to my old analogue TV. It was only connected to the wall by a power cord, and we didn't have cable, or satellite. I put my finger on connection port on the TV and all of a sudden we got reception. From a previous snowball-fight screen. I took my finger on and off again and got the same result. I was acting like the antennae.
SergeantKoopa 12y ago I learned that one should never, ever set fire to any amount of the liquid that comes out of those compressed-air cans. Two or three drops ended up filling my apartment with an extremely nasty smell for a couple of hours. It also gives off hydrogen fluoride and carbon monoxide. No, I did not do this intentionally.
double-happiness . 12y ago Edited 12y ago Not me, but an old friend of mine carried out a bit of an amateur scientific experiment when he was a kid - he discovered that if you put 'water wings on your ankles and jump into a swimming pool, you go upside down with your feet sticking up out of the water and you have to get rescued. For science, you know.
 12y ago In my backyard there was a bucket of rainwater. Some algae had formed in it and after that a fly laid eggs in it starting a colony of water-maggots. I was disgusted by it and decided i'd just dump some chemicals in there and see what happened. I grabbed ammonia glass cleaner, Dawn dish soap, and bleach. I grabbed a pot and threw in the glass cleaner, soap, and then the bleach. It started bubbling like crazy and heating up, bubbles were everywhere. Didn't think much of it and dumped it into the bucket and cleaned up
Bassic10101 12y ago tis the winter. a friend and i once went into a Wendys and i had a metal one hitter pipe in my pocket that was super hot from just smoking out of it. we sat down to eat and i decided to cool it down by putting it on the window-ledge against the cold window. said window shattered.
MeEvilBob 12y ago A neighbor of mine learned the hard way that if you burn poison ivy, the smoke is poisonous. Не ended up developing a rash on all exposed skin as well as inside his mouth, throat and lungs from breathing in some of the smoke.
ramboy18 12y ago I learned the hard way that hooking up two paper clips to a 120V plug wire for an old stereo is not a good way to make a Jacob's ladder. You just end up making a bunch of sparks and burning holes in your comforters.
13thmurder . 12y ago supercooled water. when i was a kid there was a new mini-fridge/freezer my mom bought, that came with an ice tray. i filled it with water, put it in the freezer, and a week later it still wasn't frozen. i took it out and put a straw in one of the ice cube cups, and instantly it turned from water to slush. i put the straw in the next one, stirred it a bit, and the same thing happened. apparently if water is extremely pure, and is being kept in a container in perfect condition (like
Eskelsar 12y ago Don't put salt on your hand, and hold it down with ice. I don't know why I did it in the first place, but after taking the ice off, the part of my hand with the salt on it was completely white and hard. I learned later that I froze my skin cells in that area by pushing extremely cold salt into my hand. Left a weird mark for a while.
Tangodeltaniner 12y ago I made a wolfhead for a costume with styrofoam teeth. Then I thought, hey, why not put some nail polish on the teeth to preserve them? The nail polish melted the styrofoam. I was very sad.
SavagedByButterflies 12y ago Getting up in the middle of the night for a glass of water (lights out, natch), and seeing the ice cubes illuminate as I twisted them out of the tray. Found out years later that it's called triboluminescence. Has to be very dark and with your eyes completely acclimated.
 12y ago Water and gassoline does not mix, me and my friend filled a 10L bucket to the brim with gasoline and tried to lit it with cigarettes (did not work). And then we just lit it up with matches or lithers i don't remember. Anyway, water and gasoline does not mix, so when it was time to put the flame out we got the water hose, full pressure. Now when the water hit the gasolie it just pushed it away and we got like a 10 meter flame burst. But it was Norway so there were snow everywhere
what_is_left 12y ago Don't leave batteries and change in a pant's pocket on a floor in your room or it too might burst into flames.
cornchips88 12y ago Filling a basketball with gasoline, lighting a rag that is sticking out of it on fire, then trying to kick it around like a soccer ball will only lead to a trail of flames on the ground for 10-15 seconds, followed by the ball completely catching on fire while you and your friends run away on your bikes with the sound of fire trucks in the background and a huge pillar of smoke oddly close to where you were playing firekickball.
userbelowisamonster 12y ago While camping, any antibacterial hand gel and toilet paper do not mix to create a wet wipe. Source: My asshole


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