Putting a Rubik’s Cube & Lego bricks in Acetone. What Happens?


(high intensity music) – [Man] Well, it looks
like our little friend didn’t survive his journey
into a pit full of acetone, which really isn’t that surprising. Acetone is a nifty liquid
you’ll commonly find as the active ingredient
in nail polish remover. The cool thing is that it’s also a solvent for certain types of plastic. In fact, professional Lego builders use it to bond bricks together,
making it extremely difficult to break the pieces apart
without serious force. So it can literally melt various plastics before your very eyes. This, of course, includes styrofoam, which happens to be my
favorite, so let’s start there. I put about half an inch of
acetone into a glass container. This will be enough to
take care of some tests that I wanna do with styrofoam. Now, the quickest and most intense reaction you’ll find is
with packing peanuts. Just toss them in and watch as they fade and melt down into a gooey state. So, if you have some nail polish remover and a package laying around, you can try this in a
very well ventilated area. For you younger ones, just make sure there’s an adult present
and do it outdoors. The result is pretty satisfying and fun to watch over and over and over again, but what about a larger
block of styrofoam? I broke apart the styrofoam
shipping materials from my television box to see
how easily it would dissolve. As long as there’s still more liquid in the container than melty goo, you can keep using it until it fills up. The acetone makes quick
work of these little bricks and gives an impressive
little show to curious eyes. But what about a five foot
long piece of styrofoam? Well, we’ll try that a little bit later. For now, let’s see what
happens to a Rubik’s cube. I filled a small glass
cylinder with acetone and carefully placed
the Rubik’s cube inside. Since this is a much more
dense type of plastic, the results won’t be so instantaneous. In fact, what you’re watching now is 12 hours of time-lapse video. The Rubik’s cube held its form for most of the time it was in there. It just appeared to slowly
become bloated and soggy. After it stopped changing shape, I pressed a skewer into the top and found that the entire thing had turned into a mush of goo. I doubt anyone could solve
this cube in just 12 seconds. Of course, Lego bricks
had to be tested as well. We already knew that they would melt down, but how long would it take to dissolve several pieces at once? The answer was about five hours. After dropping in some random pieces, the stop motion camera was set up and ready to film the process. You can see it reacted
in a similar fashion to the Rubik’s cube. The pieces start to sag and bloat, eventually coming to a standstill unless the liquid is disturbed. So with a quick shake of the cylinder, the pieces broke apart instantly, forming a little pile of Lego rubble. If you wanted to re-mold the
plastic into something else, you could let it break down even further, and then pour the remnants
into a shape of your choosing. All right, it’s time to quell
that longing for satisfaction with a five foot piece of styrofoam. I didn’t need to add that much
acetone to accomplish this, but it did take about three minutes to dissolve the entire piece
while applying pressure. You can see the progress slows a bit whenever I hit a thicker
portion of the piece, but with a little wiggling, it
keeps going with no problems. Now you might be wondering what to do with all the leftover goo. As I mentioned before, you
can pour it into a mold and let it dry out to form
your own hard plastics. Alternatively, you can
let the container sit out until the acetone evaporates, which shouldn’t take very long,
maybe just a few hours, and then, throw the dried
plastic away in the trash. Whatever suits you is fine. I also wanted to try dissolving a candle. I took a tea light and dropped it in. It sat for about two
hours with no changes, so ultimately, I gave up. I figured the wax was
too dense to take down a fully formed candle, but
what about wax drippings? Perhaps if a candle spilled on the floor, leaving a waxy mess. By putting just a little bit of acetone on a paper towel and rubbing
the spot, it came right off. So keep this in mind if you ever get it on the carpet or
on your wooden floors. The last thing I wanted to test was if just a little bit of acetone could find its way through
multiple layers of styrofoam. Using a pipette dropper, I sucked up a bit of liquid, and
dropped it right on top. The acetone tore right through, and made its way to the bottom. So in the odd and unlikely scenario that you have a floor made
entirely of styrofoam, it’s probably best to avoid
bringing acetone anywhere near it. Thanks for taking this little
scientific journey with me. If you enjoyed this, we
have an entire series called Scientific Tuesdays
that you can check out by clicking this playlist. You can also check out our great playlist of life-hack videos. Click either one and you’re sure to have yourself a good, grand old time. Thanks for watching. Be sure you subscribe for more videos, and we’ll see you next time.

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