Modern Marvels

Breaking Point

Season 16, Ep 14, Aired 5/13/10
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  • Episode Description
  • Get ready to examine points of failure in ultra slow motion. Watch drivers crash cars and trucks at the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety to find their breaking points, and to find the breaking points of the crash dummies inside. At Underwriter's Laboratories, fire rounds at bullet proof glass until it breaks, and see how long it will take experts to breach a safe using more and more powerful tools. Watch as lithium-ion batteries catch fire and blow up at Sandia National Laboratories. At Arizona State University, find the breaking points of steel, concrete--even Kevlar jet engine containment systems. See how a bike helmet guards against the skull reaching its breaking point, then fire high-speed projectiles at Oakley's sport glasses and military grade goggles to see if they survive. And at Black Diamond, scale a rock face with a professional climber to find the breaking point of the carabineers and chalks upon which his very life depends.moreless

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  • Trivia & Quotes
  • Quotes (1)

    • Narrator: Everything from a house to an eggshell has its point of failure. When we study that instant of destruction the lessons we learn are invaluable, because knowing can spell the difference between life and death. Now, Breaking Point, on Modern Marvels.

    Trivia (4)

    • The most expensive cars ever crash tested by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety are the Mercedes E500 and the Lexus LS, both priced around $60,000.

    • Since children could be trapped inside refrigerators if their doors reach the breaking point, Underwriters Laboratories opens and closes test models 300,000 times.

    • In 1989 engineers determined the breaking point of the Tower of Pisa. It would collapse when its tilt reaches 5.4 degrees – but inexplicably it was already leaning 5.5 degrees. A $25 million project set it a little straighter.

    • The human eardrum can register a rock concert at 110 decibels but at 160 decibels it reaches its breaking point, perforating instantly.

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