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This is what a shaped charge explosion looks like at 5 million frames per second


If there’s one thing we know about The Slow Mo Guys, it’s that they’re always chasing ever faster frame rates to capture things in even slower motion. If there’s another thing we know about Gav and Dan, it’s that they like blowing stuff up. And when they combine the two, it always results in some pretty insane footage, letting us see things in ways we never have before.

You’ll be pleased to hear that this video is no exception as the boys add to their familiar array of Phantom cameras with a Shimadzu HPV-X camera that shoots up to a whopping five million frames per second – technically, it can shoot up to ten million but they only take it up to five – to capture shaped charges exploding. This beats their Phantom cameras by an order of magnitude and then some!

There are some sacrifices with shooting at five million frames per second. For a start, the Shimadzu camera is only able to record 256 frames at a time. That’s a whole 0.0000024 seconds in real-time which results in about eight and a half to ten and a half seconds of footage depending on the framerate at which you play it back. It’s also black and white, as colour requires three times the amount of data and bandwidth. And, yeah, it’s relatively low resolution.

But with something as fast as a shaped charge, you get to see things that would otherwise simply be impossible. To give you an idea of just how fast a shaped charge explosion is, based on their footage, they calculated that if the charge continued to accelerate at its initial rate, it would reach the speed of light in about a second and a half. Obviously, it doesn’t keep accelerating that fast continuously, and the whole thing is over in an instant (in real-time).

But at five million frames per second? Oh yeah, it’s pretty insane. Shooting this fast is even able to capture the inversion of the cone from the shaped charge’s initial detonation.

Now I’m kinda curious to see what they could film with that camera at 10 million fps!





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