Why Can a Big Mac Stand Up to 2,000-Degree Molten Copper?

by Tod Perry

September 22, 2017

In the U2 song “The Playboy Mansion,” Bono sang that “a Big Mac [is] bigger than you think.” A recent video proves that the flagship McDonald’s sandwich is nearly indestructible … kinda. YouTube sensation Tito4re poured hot molten copper over a Big Mac, and the results have captivated the internet.  

The web has no shortage of bizarre studies performed on McDonald’s food, but this one has has been shared more than 3 million times. One would assume that the burger will be instantly decimated by the hot copper, but the 2,000-degree Fahrenheit liquid metal rolls right off the bun and does little more than blacken its surface. When the magma is poured on the the “100 percent pure beef” patty, it runs right off it like water. Although the video seems to prove that McDonald’s food is so inedible it can withstand molten copper, the sandwich’s resistance to the liquid metal is caused by the Leidenfrost effect. 

According to U.S. News & World Report, “The Leidenfrost effect occurs when a liquid comes in near contact with a solid significantly hotter than its boiling point; the surface of the liquid comes to a nearly immediate boil, creating a thin layer of protective steam.” The effect is similar to what happens when you pour hot water into a hot pan and the water bounces around the surface. The moisture in the burger protects its surface before being burned by the penny lava. Now the world waits to see how well the Whopper stands up to the ultimate test.

Update: This article originally appeared on ​March 17, 2016.

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Why Can a Big Mac Stand Up to 2,000-Degree Molten Copper?