Prince Rupert’s Drops

My husband recently became fascinated with Prince Rupert’s Drops, named after the German prince who first brought them to England to present to the King in the mid-1600s.

The drops form when molten glass is dropped into cold water. The resulting shape looks like a tadpole and has curious physical properties. The outer part of the bulb hardens more quickly than the inner part of the bulb. As the interior portion cools, an incredible amount of contraction and compression takes place. As a result, the bulb end of the shape is so strong that even the hardest hammer blows won’t cause the glass to shatter. If the slightest tip of the tail, however, is broken off, the entire structure explodes into powder.

“It’s a good analogy for a certain personality type,” my husband said as he concluded his explanation.

“What do you mean?” I asked.

“On the one hand, they’re extremely solid and stubborn, but at the same time really brittle and explosive.”

“What are you trying to say?” I asked suspiciously. “WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU TRYING TO SAY?!

Check out this video:

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