Ex-NASA engineer Mark Rober shows you how to make sand behave like water

Rober demonstrates how to make the ultimate party trick by using the scientific process of fluidisation to show how a hot tub full of sand can behave like water.
Jessica Miley

Es-NASA engineer Mark Rober has just made one of his coolest videos yet. This is the guy that bought us the massive super soaker and a way to measure pee in your pool. But this video of a hot tub filled with sand that behaves like water is almost unbelievable. Robert explains that if you fill a container with sand but then blow air up from underneath it, the air pushes around each of the sand granules, reducing the friction between them and essentially making them behave like water. So when you do this at a hot tub scale, light objects like Rober's, rubber ducky will float to the surface and heavy object (like Rober) will sink to the bottom. The scientific term for this phenomena is called fluidization.

Rober tells us that despite the fact fluidization isn't a new idea, he had trouble researching how to make his own backyard setup and that it took him twenty-five attempts before he could get it right. But when he does the results are awesome. Definitely, watch the whole video to get Rober scientific breakdown ont he phenomena and the cool footage of his nephews going crazy in the 'liquidsand'.

Fluidization had its heyday in between the 40’s and 70’s when it was used extensively in the coal mining industry. It still has a place in some industrial process as well as having applications in the shellfish and powder coating industries and in science research labs.

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