THE COOLING TOWER — I thought balloons only served two purposes: bringing someone joy with a floating sack of air or scaring them to death by creating a loud noise with a floating sack of air. Turns out there is a third purpose: making an amazing sound in a nuclear power plant cooling tunnel.
This video is only 15 seconds long, but hearing the balloon pop in the tower and listening to the echo is pretty amazing. I was going to just make up some stuff about what's going on, but I'll own my own stupidity when it comes to science and let the description in the video explain what's happening.
This nuclear plant in Elma, Washington, is now an acoustics lab after the plant was abandoned a few weeks before it received its first uranium. Two members of the Walters-Storyk Design Group were visiting the lab and took a few moments to pop a balloon in the cooling tower.
"This video is in one of the cooling towers," the YouTube description explains. "Even though it has an open top it does have a convex curve on the inside bottom of the tower. This shape makes for some awesome acoustics as you hear in the video."
Of course! The convex curve creates that amazing sound. OK, I still don't know what's going on, but I'm glad people are smarter than me and thought of something better to do in the tower than yell, "Echo!"