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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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Because it sounds dangerous?

Nah, it sounds too cool to try to talk you out of it.
 
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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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"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.. :rolleyes:
 

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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.

Charles’s Law
 

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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...:image035:
 

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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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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!
 

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Discussion Starter #16
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.

There is a warning label on pressurised cans against puncture. A bullet would certainly be a puncture.

That said, I am always experimenting with various crime and accident scenes trying to recreate them but there are a lot of variables to take into account. I am certainly not going to try this one inside my house. It will be out in a field with a long distance between the cans and I.

I did pretty much the same with some propane lighters a few years ago. A man got his leg blown off by a lighter blowing up in his pocket. After 100 lighters, I had almost 100 different reactions.
 
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Might be an interesting experiment, people do not recognize the danger of pressurized cans especially when heated. While not as flammable or explosive while in the PI one of the Loadmasters shot a can of GI bug spray with a Filipino blowgun to see if it would penetrate. IT DID, that little can ricocheted and spun around the room for over a minute and did a good bit of damage.
 

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You would be better served writing to the staff of Discovery's "Myth Busters" and let Adam and Jamie recreate the actual scenario to see if they could verify the results. Tannerite is much more fun.
 

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Absolutely they could cause this kind of damage - but to make it happen, you've really got to get them to disperse their contents into a larger container.

You can do this on a small scale pretty easily. Get a gallon paint can and poke a good size hole (maybe 1/4 ") in the side. Attach it it to a 2x6 board with baling wire so it can lie on its side. Give a good half-second spray or so, then tap the lid on with a mallet. Light it off through the touch hole. It should shoot the top a good distance. Now imagine a bathroom-sized can.

This is pretty much how we used to make carbide cannons, btw. Using carbide will give all the dogs in your neighborhood something to cheer about.

Hairspray is also what I have used for my potato canons. Much better than carb starter fluid. The latter can soak into the potato and cause flaming spuds.
 

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My guess is two fold the top of the can was shot off because the can became overpressured. Then the contents of the can filled the bathroom with an explosive mixture that went off when it reached the heater element exploding causing the brick wall to be pushed out.

The can does not explode it ruptures. when the internal pressure exceeds the rated pressure of the can. This is not an explosion.
An explosion is a rapid burning of a material.

Without looking at the evidence and if the walls had heat damage it would be hard to be certain.
 
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