Love Is A Burning Flame, And So Is This Underwater Burning Ring Of Fire

When Johnny Cash wrote “Ring of Fire”, he was talking about love. But when an unnamed follower of [TheBackyardScientist] took it literally and suggested making actual rings of fire — underwater —  they rose to the challenge as you can see in the video below the break.

Of course there are several ingredients to underwater fire rings. First you need water, and a pool clearly does the job in this video. Second, you need flammable rings of gas. [TheBackyardScientist] decided to build a machine to create the gas rings, and it’s quite interesting to see them go through several iterations before settling on a voice coil based poppet valve design. We must say that it works absolutely swimmingly.

Lastly there needs to be fire. And for fire, you need something flammable, and something shocking. Forty thousands volts light up a spark plug, even underwater. The fuel is provided by what appears to be compressed air and acetylene but we’re not 100% sure. We are sure that it goes bang! quite sufficiently, as demonstrated by its aptitude for blowing things up.

We appreciated the engineering that went into the project but also the rapid iterations of ideas, the overcoming of serious obstacles and the actual science that went into the project. Even if it is just randomly making literal burning rings of fire.

22 thoughts on “Love Is A Burning Flame, And So Is This Underwater Burning Ring Of Fire

  1. Think it’s oxy/propane mix. He mentions propane quite a few times.

    It’d be awesome to find something that burns slower so you could see it without the high speed camera.

    My understanding is underwater explosions can carry quite a punch. Is he risking damaging his pool? Or if people were swimming, would that be bad?

    1. Cannot compress water. So any explosion woulf be risking high damage to internal organs. He mentions this specifically in a few of his videos. I think he has a video showing exactly what happens with a high speed camera as well. Check the back catalog.

  2. > When Johnny Cash wrote “Ring of Fire”, he was talking about love.

    When some talk about a burning ring of fire… it’s the aftermath of a bad curry.

  3. Pretty safe, i think it is like with radiation: Inverse-square law. Haven’t read the paper but there are distances given.


      1. Even if you consider an explosive lens like in a nuclear bomb, it is just a cutout of a sphere. I don’t think a toroid would do more damage than a sphere of the same diameter. it just has different propagation behaviour and less volume, thus less strength. Either way still a good idea. Of course if you build something like a pipe with one end open it may be much stronger, as the total energy has to exit a small nozzle.

        But i am rambling right now.

    1. I’d worry more about combustion products fouling the water. That can’t be complete combustion going on at the gas/liquid interface, either. Probably makes some stuff you’re not supposed to make in California.

      1. It’ll be diluted enough to not be particularly interesting, for just a few fuel-rich attempts. Rain has probably introduced orders of magnitude more smog particles simply washed out of the atmosphere.

    1. I saw a video about the special effects used in making that submarine movie “Crimson Tide”. How they made the scene of the Russian sub exploding was interesting.

  4. BTW if you do your own ring of fire, don’t forget the Mexican horns…. Johnny Cash said they were the magic ingredient after multiple artists recorded it and failed to get anywhere.

  5. “Ring of Fire” is credited to June Carter and Merle Kilgore. The only person who claims that Johnny Cash wrote it is Cash’s ex-wife, Vivan, who had reason to disparage June, as June Carter and Johnny Cash got married shortly after Vivan and Johnny got divorced. (June Carter Cash has said that she wrote “Ring of Fire” about being in love with Johnny–several years before his divorce).

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