Rupture disc manufacturer Oseco, helped the cast from the TV show MythBusters test the feasibility of a popular movie myth. In its fifth appearance for a myth entitled “What is Bombproof?”, the show used Oseco’s rupture discs to determine the protection everyday objects offer the human body against an explosion.
The Discovery Channel’s MythBusters puts myths found in urban legend and movies to the test under real world conditions. The results are then used to categorize the myths as “Confirmed,” “Plausible,” or “Busted.”
In the latest episode, the show placed Oseco rupture discs behind wooden tables, cars, dumpsters, and brick walls to test how well these objects could shield the discs, and thereby a human from a blast. The myth comes from a common movie scene, where characters dive behind everyday objects and are protected from a nearby explosion.
The MythBusters cast used discs calibrated to burst at 13 PSI and 75 PSI, which are the amounts of force the human body can endure before experiencing injury and certain death. First, discs were placed at intervals around a charge of three pounds of C4 plastic explosive to establish injury and death zones at 20 and 10 feet from the epicenter without protection.
Having control data, the cast then tested wooden tables, cars, metal dumpsters, and brick walls. Each object was placed at 10 and 20 feet from a three-pound charge of C4, with an Oseco rupture disc shielded behind the object. In a surprising conclusion, the cast confirmed that all objects prevented the blasts’ shockwaves from causing injury at 20 feet and death at 10 feet. The most effective barrier, the brick wall, was able to protect against both death and injury at 10 feet. However, the MythBusters did note that their experiments did not take the damage caused by flying shrapnel into consideration.
In the past, the MythBusters cast has turned to Oseco when they needed help measuring the destructive effects of explosions. In previous episodes, Oseco’s discs were used to determine the protection water provides from explosions, and to test whether a person could be exposed to a blast that would “knock your socks off” without experiencing a deadly amount of force.