Amazing video stuff coming up in The Mystery of the Prince Rupert’s Drop (aka Dutch Tears or… er… Rupert’s Balls).
They explode. Ouchies.
The nice thing about this is that you can watch as much or as little as you want. If you just want to see exploding glass at 130,000 frames per second, that’s cool. If you want to see exactly why and how quickly that glass explodes, just watch a little longer.
Hint, it’s about 5½ times the speed of sound. Whoosh!
It seems clear that Prince Rupert did not discover the drops, but played a role in their history by being the first to bring them to Britain, in 1660. He gave them to King Charles II, who in turn delivered them in 1661 to the Royal Society (which the King had created the previous year) for scientific study. Several early publications from the Royal Society give accounts of the drops and describe experiments performed. Among these publications was Micrographia of 1665 by Robert Hooke, who later would discover Hooke’s Law. His publication laid out correctly most of what can be said about Prince Rupert’s Drops without a fuller understanding than existed at the time, of elasticity (to which Hooke himself later contributed so greatly) and of the failure of brittle materials from the propagation of cracks. A fuller understanding of crack propagation had to wait until the work of A. A. Griffith in 1920.
Now, don’t you feel educated?!?