This site is not affiliated with the Discovery Channel or MythBusters. Please visit the Official MythBusters site for official content.

Episode 81: Grenades and Guts

  • Diet Coke + Mentos can rupture a stomach: busted
  • Self-hypnosis can cure seasickness: busted
  • Self-hypnosis can cure a fear of bees: busted
  • Self-hypnosis can change your eye color: busted
  • Grenade heroes:
    • Jumping on a grenade to save the people around you: confirmed
    • Throwing a grenade into a bucket of water to save your life: no official judgement, plausible?
    • Throwing a grenade in a refrigerator to save your life: busted

Handgrenade Heroes

Myth: Will jumping on a grenade save the people around you?

Video extras of explosions at discovery.com/mythbusters

This myth was meant to test the Hollywood-style story where a soldier dives on a grenade to save his fellow soldiers.

The word "grenade" comes from grenate, the French word for pomegranate. Grenades used to be filled with filled with shot, similar to pomegranate seeds.

Setup

  • Ballistics media human analogue: more stable than ballistics gel at room temperature, which had been a problem with several of their outdoor testings
  • Plywood actors: 8 simple plywood silhouettes of people they could arrange around the blast scene.
  • M67 grenade: pulling the pin sets off a chemical fuse. It's lethal within 15ft and can cause injuries up to 30-45ft.

They went to the Alameda County Bomb Range where Frank Doyle was once again present to help them with the explosives. Also present was Sgt J.D. Nelson, Bomb Technician.

Control explosion

They set off the grenade with just the plywood actors present. The nearest cutout (5ft) took 14 hits, including in the chest. The hits appeared small but went through to the other side. The second- and third-nearest cutouts had shrapnel hits through the center as well, and one of their cameras behind the scene got shrapnel straight through the lens. A plexiglass covering on another camera further away was dotted all over with shrapnel marks.

Covered explosion

Ballistics-media body laid on top of grenade. The explosion goopified the upper body, leaving only the legs. The nearest cutout only took 4 hits this time, and only in the legs. The hits also didn't penetrate as far as they did in the original test as there were no exit marks on the other side of the plywood. The second-nearest cutout had no visible hits.

confirmed

Myth: Throwing a grenade into a bucket of water can save your life

See also: Water Safe

In another Hollywood variation on the grenade myth, they wanted to see if tossing a grenade into a bucket of water would save your life. They had previously tested explosives+water with the "Water Safe" myth -- the water transmitted the force of the explosion well -- but were unsure what would happen in this case. Jamie was optimistic about the technique: he thought that the water would resist the movement of the small shrapnel well.

The bucket was annihilated in the explosion, but Adam and Jamie differed on the result. Adam noted a shrapnel wound through the head of the second-nearest actor and felt that the water wasn't effective. Jamie felt that it reduced the number of hits better than anything else they tried, and it didn't require a sacrificial hero.

no judgment

Myth: Throwing a grenade in a refrigerator to save your life

In an episode of Monk, the hero throws a grenade into a refrigerator save his life.

They changed the setup on this myth slightly as they positioned the plywood actors around the fridge. The actor in front of the fridge was severed in half and decapitated. The fridge just added more shrapnel to the explosion.

Jamie: "Out of all the options that we had, this was clearly the worst idea."

busted

Self-Hypnosis

The build team and Adam tested a variety of self-hypnosis/self-help CDs to see if they actually worked. Grant attempted to combat his seasickness, Adam his fear of bees, and Kari attempted to change her eye color. They were each given a week with their respective CDs and tested after.

See also: Mind Control

Myth: Self-hypnosis can cure seasickness

See also: Seasickness Cures

Grant was the most eager and earnest with the self-hypnosis CD. Stating, "I'm tired of being the seasickness guinea pig," Grant was hoping to no longer have to repeat his experience from "Seasickness Cures," though he ironically made the seasickness guinea pig once more as part of this mythbusting.

Grant got a spin in the whirling seasickness chair from the "Seasickness Cures" myth and was heaving into his bucket after 17:34.

He got to listen to Pleasant Journeys' No More Seasickness CD for a week, which advertises, "Note: The Journal of Clinical Pharmacology reported in 2000 that hypnosis was more effective than promethazine in preventing sickness in laboratory testing."

No such luck for Grant. Despite repeating his self-help mantra: "I really want this to work. My body is strong and it can handle all kinds of different situations," he still got sick in his second test after a week. He did manage to last about twice as long, but he was definitely not cured.

busted

Myth: Self-hypnosis can cure a fear of bees (Apiphobia)

Tory wanted to see if the self-hypnosis CDs could cure Adam's fear of bees. They first tested Adam before giving him the CD to verify that he was, in fact, afraid of bees. They measured Adam's pulse rate and galvanic skin response while Adam was forced to stick his hand inside a box of bees. Adam's heart rate spiked 20bpm just at the sign of the bee box. Many bleeps and 10 minutes later the test was over, and Adam jerked his hand out of box so quickly he knocked it over

Adam then had to listen to the self-help CD for a week, which he considered "snake oil." They exposed him to the same test as before. Tory asked him if he was less afraid this time. Adam replied, "yes," but the galvanic skin response showed that he was probably lying. The overall test results showed the same high heart rate and galvanic skin response as the first test.

busted

Myth: A Self-hypnosis CD can change your eye color

Kari tested a wackier self-help CD: changing your eye color. She still went to Koret Vision Center to have pictures taken of her eyes so that there would be an accurate record of her eye color. She came back a week later to see if they were green: Professor Stephen McCleod, cornea specialist, verified that they were still brown.

busted

Coke and Mentos Exploding Stomach

Myth: Swallowing Diet Coke and Mentos can rupture your stomach.

See also: * Myth: Pop Rocks and Soda * Diet Coke and Mentos investigation * Eepybird: Diet Coke and Mentos

This myth is based on an Internet video where a guy swallows Diet Coke and Mentos and keels over, purportedly because it ruptured his stomach. The build team set out to see if this was reality TV or a work of fiction.

This MythBusting was almost identical to the Pop Rocks and Soda pilot episode, but updated for the Internet video age. As before, they got a pig stomach and did their best to cause it to burst. There was some pre-test indigestion as Tory managed to get Kari to vomit: he waved around a finger covered in pig bile that they were draining from the stomach

Test 1: Realistic setup

The set the pig stomach inside a human skeleton and hooked it up to two tubes. One tube fed the Diet Coke into the stomach while the other allowed them to drop in Mentos using a simple magnetic release. The stomach was filled with diluted muriatic acid (aka Hydrochloric acid) that was mixed to replicate the same ph (between 2-3) as a human stomach.

They squeezed the Diet Coke quickly into the stomach, which caused the pig stomach to swell up to large proportions. Grant was already changing his mind that this myth might have some merit. However, when they dropped in the Mentos, there was no visible reaction. They hypothesized that either: a) the fact that the soda had already foamed up in the stomach, or b) the muriatic acid in the stomach, were reducing the reaction. They were able to quickly verify that it was (a), the foaming, that was at fault. They quickly squeezed some Diet Coke into a container and then dropped in a Mentos -- the Diet Coke had lost too much CO2 to really react.

Test 2: Slow pour

They tried their test again, but this time they slowly poured the Diet Coke to try and minimize foaming. Even with the careful pour the foaming was unavoidable and they had the same results as the first test.

Test 3: Diet Coke bottle attached to stomach

They rigged the stomach on top of a Diet Coke bottle. This was completely unrealistic, but it ensured that there was no chance of the Diet Coke foaming before the Mentos was dropped in. The stomach swelled up pretty good, but there was no stomach explosion.

Test 4: Replicating the result

They did away with Diet Coke and Mentos and went straight for the compressed air. Grant pumped in the air at 30psi, which swelled up the stomach until a soft pop announced that it was ruptured.

busted