News: This Thermal Lance Fueled by Bacon (Yes, Bacon) Can Cut Right Through a Steel Pan

This Thermal Lance Fueled by Bacon (Yes, Bacon) Can Cut Right Through a Steel Pan

You knew that the food you eat gives you energy, but did you know it can actually power a thermal lance with enough heat to burn through steel? A thermal lance, as in, the tool used to demolish buildings and bridges.

Theodore Gray set out to create one entirely out of bacon, which, as crazy as it sounds, actually works pretty well. The reason that bacon is so fattening (and delicious) is because it has tons of energy stored in protein and fat, which can either be released through digestion or by burning it with oxygen. He went with option two.

If you want to be technical about it, the "bacon" in this project is actually prosciutto, bacon's Italian cousin. Theodore made tubes of prosciutto and baked them at a low temperature to remove all the moisture. He took seven tubes and wrapped them in more prosciutto to make one giant tube, then wrapped it in a few fresh slices for heat resistance.

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This monstrosity was then attached to an oxygen hose, which is what allows it to be lit. As you can see from the video above, it produces a pretty impressive flame and burns for quite a while. Theodore also made a "vegetarian" version with a cucumber and breadsticks, which also worked, but didn't burn as long.

"The lesson here is that food is a source of serious amounts of energy."

No, that doesn't mean you should start an all-bacon diet if you're training for a marathon. It just goes to show that there's a lot more going on in your breakfast than you know about. For more details on the build and the science behind it, check out Theodore's writeup on PopSci.

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Photos by Mike Walker


Technically, prosciutto is ham and pancetta is bacon, and prosciutto usually costs a bit more and is more salty. I wonder how the two would compare against each other in this experiment. Would prosciutto last longer?

That's a great point. And as for which would last longer, it's all about energy and pancetta has a higher fat content, so my guess is that it would probably burn longer than the prosciutto. I would say that he probably chose prosciutto because it's easier to work since pancetta is usually circular in shape.

You're right, prosciutto is probably easier to work with, though, I don't think I've ever successfully pulled out a piece of prosciutto from the packaging without ripping it to shreds!

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