Pair of incompetent reporters fail at recreating Instagram-famous tin foil balls

May 21, 2019 — by Edwin Chen and Jun Lee

Earlier this year,  a plethora of YouTubers took over Instagram, posting videos of themselves crumpling a lump of tin foil and hammering it repeatedly. Though it looked like it would take a long time, the end result — a solid, shiny ball — seemed like something that would be fun to try. Little did we know what we were in for.

These videos seemed impossible in real life, but because we really had nothing better to do, other than studying for the upcoming chemistry exam that week, we decided to try it out for ourselves. Out of our two attempts to make the ball using five meters of tin foil and a rubber mallet, we failed. Both times.

On Saturday, we worked to turn a lump of aluminum foil into a solid aluminum ball capable of breaking windows and denting cars.

We started by rolling out the five meters of tin foil and roughly crumpling it into the shape of a ball. Then, we started beating the ball with a club hammer as if we were cave people, letting out the occasional ape-like scream every time we hit it. Hitting the ball felt therapeutic as we let out the pent-up anger we had built up over the course of second semester Chem Honors.

Despite our hoots and hollers, we ended up with a shape that closely resembled a frisbee. We realized that it came out as a patty because we never turned the ball on different sides to preserve its spherical shape. Because we still had nothing better to do that day, we persevered, deciding to give the tin foil ball another go with a new lump.

The second attempt was just as unsuccessful.

We continued to jam and turn the ball to compress it for 30 minutes until we realized a massive crack was forming in it. How the crack formed is still a mystery that not even the brightest scientists have figured out. We tried to hammer the crack together and cover it up with more tin foil, but the damage was already done; the ball was unfixable.

We felt pretty stupid after trying to make a shiny tin foil ball and failing catastrophically. This experiment, however, was successful in one way: We had burned through two hours of our weekend, and even though it was completely pointless, it gave us a chance to hang around and relieve our academic stress. All in all, it was a great way to waste two hours on a weekend.

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