How much pressure does it take to crush a concrete cylinder?

(CBS News) While we like to have a lot of fun in terms of the content we highlight here at The Feed, every once in a while we need to take time to educate, too. And that time is now. So let's find out just how much pressure it takes to crush a concrete cylinder in this science video above. Do you want to try and take a guess? The results come in at about 1:40 into the clip.

The answer: a whopping 1.6 million pounds of force! The very visual experiment in physics was posted by Bad Astronomer (aka Phil Plait) who writes about the "heavy metal moment":

I attended the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign in March 2013 to give a talk about asteroid impacts. It was part of their very popular Engineering Open House day, which had lots of activities. One of these was crushing concrete cylinders with a mechanical press that can apply 3 *million* pounds of force. I figured the cylinder would just crack and crumble.

I was wrong.

I would have guessed the same, honestly. But now the next time someone asks how much pressure it takes to crush a concrete cylinder, you've got a solid estimate. (Oh, and it was awesome to watch the cylinder explode, but concrete maintain, too!) And to check out more great science-related work from Bad Astronomer, be sure to visit his YouTube page by clicking here.


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