Highspeed Photography of Punctured Water Balloons:

Freeze Frame of Water Balloon Rupture


Highspeed Photography of Punctured Water Balloons:

Punctured water balloons are photographed at high speed (1000 frames/sec) in a laboratory. Since the rupture process is on the order of milliseconds, the initial impact of the membrane retraction on the bulk fluid can be observed without the significant interference of gravity. Such tests were conducted to get preliminary insight into the rupture of water balloons in a low-gravity environment (i.e. in space). Video recordings of these punctured water balloons in space are available.

The Result Videos:

Video Description Downloadable Videos
An approximately 15cm diameter water balloon is ruptured using a syringe needle. At least in the short term, the retracting membrane leaves the bulk liquid intact and very spherical. A spray (mist) of drops is ejected in the direction of the membrane retraction.
Quicktime Movie
~958 kb
MPEG Movie
~265 kb
An approximately 7cm diameter glycerol-filled balloon is punctured by a syringe needle. (The viscosity of glycerol is 1500 times that of water.) No "spray" of drops is observed. The effect of the membrane tearing away from liquid is to draw a curtain of fluid away with it which in turn dramatically deforms the "blob" of fluid from its initially spherical shape.
Quicktime Movie
~441 kb
MPEG Movie
~137 kb
An approximately 20cm diameter water balloon is punctured using a blunt pencil. A "splash" at the puncture location is observed much like that of a rock thrown into a shallow puddle.
Quicktime Movie
~905 kb
MPEG Movie
~2.01 mb
A sausage-shaped water balloon is ruptured near its midpoint. The balloon unwraps from the water in stages as it rips in two. A "fan" is produced near the puncture location where fluid from left half of the balloon is forced into the right half.
Quicktime Movie
~641 kb
MPEG Movie
~212 kb

Please direct questions/comments to Mark Weislogel

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