Unique target

This is a discussion on Unique target within the General Firearm Discussion forums, part of the Related Topics category; I was at a scene this week that I am not sure about and want to see if I can duplicate the damage. While this ...

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    Distinguished Member Array oldman45's Avatar
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    Unique target

    I was at a scene this week that I am not sure about and want to see if I can duplicate the damage. While this was my second time in 40 yrs to see damage contributed to the offending object, I still do not believe it. Now to explain:

    Incident #1. A man left his bathroom ceiling heater on over night. There was a large can of hair spray on a shelf above the toilet bowl. During the night, the can of hair spray is suspected of over heating and blew up. It left a small hole in the ceiling where the cap penetrated the sheetrock. It also knocked an outside brick wall some five inches out at the top. The wall had to be replaced.

    Incident #2. This week. I went to a beauty shop where there was an explosion. This was a 900 sq ft business in a strip mall. A can of hair spray exploded due to unknown causes. It blew out windows in both the front and back of the business. Also a fire started that smoked up the place. Two people inside were injured.

    I am not a fireman and not trained in explosives. I DO NOT believe a can of hair spray can do this kind of damage.

    My plan is to buy several cans of hair spray at a dollar store. Place them in a field and shoot them from a distance. I want to place various objects around the cans to see the damage effects.

    Ok, now try to talk me out of this with valid reasons why it should not be done.
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    VIP Member Array Brad426's Avatar
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    Because it sounds dangerous?

    Nah, it sounds too cool to try to talk you out of it.
    airslot likes this.
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    Distinguished Member Array lionround's Avatar
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    Don't do it. OK, I tried.

    Be sure to get video and/or pics.
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    Ya - don't do it . . . without pics and video. Post em up here when you get em.

    OTOH, I would bet you could just do a youtube search and watch a video, pretty sure someone has probably done it.
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    I watched a couple of vids on Youtube showing hairspray can explosions, but even the largest left me doubting one could displace a brick as you described. I suppose in some type of room with poor pressure or air ventilation the windows could be blown out, but perhaps there was a fuel-air bomb type reaction. That is, if the can released a large spray or mist prior to explosion, having seen how those types of bombs work, I bet the effect could be multiplied dozens of times.
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    You shouldn't see the same collateral damage blowing up the cans outside, there is nothing to confine the pressure wave. The high pressure release in the confined space is the most probable reason for the damage to the house wall. If the bathroom had a window it should have been destroyed before the brick wall was pushed out. But if you do shoot the pressurized cans they should "travel"!
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    Distinguished Member Array RevolvingMag's Avatar
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    "You'll shoot your eye out.."

    Make sure you have some good eye protection, and plenty of space around you to keep others from getting hurt by flying debris.

    Other than that... I can only assume that you're an adult..
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    VIP Member Array paaiyan's Avatar
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    Shooting the cans won't get you the desired effect. The cans "exploded" because in a confined container, a given amount of gas will expand when subjected to higher temperatures. What probably happened is the container started to leak and the released gasses (being flammable) ignited. I can see it easily blowing out the windows in the beauty parlor, but the one in the bathroom is a little odd.
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    Wrap the can in duct tape before you shoot it to increase the internal pressure.
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    Also keep in mind Charles’s Law. Charles’s Law states that when a gas is heated the pressure in the container increases. If you try your test on room temperature cans they will likely have different results than heated cans. Without knowing at what temperature did the cans explode it would be hard to recreate the scene.
    When shooting the cans your bullet will puncture the can in a small area releasing the some pressure from the hole that might change the test as well.

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    Shooting the cans will only punch a hole in them, they will not "explode." Drop a can of hair spray into a fire and you'll be amazed at the results.

    I once shot a full SCUBA tank with a .30-06 (Think Jaws) to see what would happen. Used military ammo too. At about 100 yards, the first shot glanced off the tank and knocked it over. The second hit the thicker base and caused a crack that let all the air out. No massive explosion like the movie.

    And no, I do NOT reccommend anyone trying this.
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    Take pictures...
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    VIP Member Array Snub44's Avatar
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    ...I'd pick Pat Bradford's brain on that one...bet he's seen a few situations like that...


    ...cwap...he's been retired since 98...everybody's retired...

    ...we used to light Right Guard cans spraying and chase each other with the torches...one of the stupidest things we did in our youth...after seeing what they could do...it's a wonder we didn't put our eyes out...

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    Distinguished Member Array phreddy's Avatar
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    Build a drywall and stud box around it and put an electric heat plate underneath the can. Might get you some different results.


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    Taurahe, Hoganbeg and msgt/ret like this.

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    Senior Member Array darbo's Avatar
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    I have never shot a hair spray can but can attest that a good fire, in a 55 gallon drum, will get them going in a big way! I'm thankful I survived my youth!
    NH_Esau likes this.

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