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Slow Mo Science: See What Happens When The Slow Mo Guys Get Inside GE Labs

Filmmakers Gavin Free and Daniel Gruchy are perhaps best known for blowing up concrete bunkers and popping giant water balloons in slow motion on their immensely popular YouTube show The Slow Mo Guys. But scientists at GE Global Research in Niskayuna, New York, have recently harnessed their crackling energy for more creative purposes. They invited the pair to their labs to capture and explain some of GE’s fast-moving scientific work.

Free and Gruchy, who spent a day in Niskayuna, arrived armed with a high-speed Phantom Flex camera that can capture 25,000 frames per second. It allowed them to visualize technologies like “cold spray,” a form of additive manufacturing using a high-powered gas nozzle to accelerate microscopic metal particles to four times the speed of sound, shoot them at a target, and build up layers in the shape of jet engine blades, rotors and other components. They also filmed liquids sliding along super water-repellent surfaces covered with nanoparticles, which were modeled after lotus leaves, and superfast microscopic electrical switches called MEMS.

“With cold spray, the particles fly at speeds around 1,000 meters per second,” explains GE materials scientist Leonardo Ajdelsztajn. He says that when the particle hits the target, “the material flows like a liquid, but it is in a solid state. Basically the material loses the capability to hold itself together.” Ajdelsztajn says that the method could help customers reduce repair and manufacturing costs. “For consumers, hopefully they will be flying in a plane that will have parts manufactured by this technology,” he says. Take a look.

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