Why It Do That?: Spinning A CD So Fast It Explodes

March 11, 2013


I've used tons of terrible screencaps on Geekologie, and this one is certainly no exception. I had the choice of either using one of the CD just spinning, or after the explosion, and I chose neither of those and went with a really blurry one from during the ACTUAL explosion. It's a decision that may haunt me, not unlike the ghost of the former tenant which the landlord failed to mention actually died in the apartment. I thought they were required to tell you that kind of stuff. This is a video of a CD exploding after being spun super-fast on a high-speed electric motor. Why does it explode instead of condensing and forming a planet? Answer in the comments for your chance to win a kiss from the supermodel of your choice!*

*Winner must be blindfolded and not complain about my mustache.

Hit the jump for the video, complete with Coke can destruction.

Thanks to Tony, who told me it exploded because of some minor imperfection in the disk that caused it become unstable at such a high RPM and he sounded all very scientific about it so I believe him.

  • archer923

    10 years late. Mythbusters did this back in season 1.

  • ced1106

    Ten years late. Shoulda used an AOL disk! :D

  • dsandman87

    I don't know why, but I was expecting a slow-motion replay...

  • FAKE!!!!

    This is a complete photoshop job. You cvan tell its a fake because the shadow's are all wrong.

    This is exactly like that scene in the movie Never BAck Down where Max goes bowling and his fake hand gets stuck in the ball.

  • OrehRatiug


  • My theory (so may not be correct), is that centrifugal force is forcing the weight of the disc outwards. The faster the disc spins the more force being thrown outwards. Eventually the force gets that large that the structure of the disc can't support it and snaps.

    Again, I might be wrong. This is just my theory.

  • Closet Nerd

    i want to put my dick on it
    ..... just sayin

  • Brant_Alan

    Obviously just a joint advertisement for Coke and Pepsi.

  • Patrick Filan

    I've modeled this in class (mechanical engineering) for frictionless turbine axles. Basically in a material (CD plastic for instance), there are defects. Defects in microstructure are good because they prevent dislocation motion, but if multiple ones stack creating a macro-defect, they can cause a microcrack. Under high stresses (such as those that result from high RPMs), these cracks are allowed to propagate and expand until they rip the CD apart. A local business in town had their magnet-levitated turbine axles for AC compressors exploding and my professor found the maximum RPM that they could withstand. #TrustMeImAnEngineer

  • TalonDesigns

    A major difference between the high speed motor and the CD-ROM drive is that the drive has a means of balancing the CD whereas the motor does not - this adds extra external forces due to the imbalance.

    These forces can be in the form of harmonic vibrations which can cause the CD to explode. It can also have something to do with imperfections in the disc, but more than likely, not the case.

  • TalonDesigns

    More information on exploding CDs:


  • I had that happen to an old WarCraft2 disc in my computer... heard this horrible boom and then grinding... opened the tray to have about 2/3 of the disc fall out in pieces. Destroyed the drive.

  • Try the old laser discs and a lathe.

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