Decoding the MythBusters – U – V – W

posted: 04/11/12

Ultraviolet radiation

Radiation from the sun that has a frequency between visible light and X-rays on the electromagnetic spectrum.

Universal joint

Coupling hardware designed to connect two or more shafts or rods and allow freedom of movement. Universal joints are often found in drivetrains and axle shafts.


A space characterized by the absence of matter.


The conversion of a liquid to a gas via evaporation or boiling.


The test elements in an experiment that impact the outcome. For instance, in the "Sloshed for Science" experiment in season six, episode 129, the crew wants to isolate the alcoholic drinks consumed as the only variable in the experiment.


Distance traveled over a given period of time.

Vertical thrust

An rocket's upward thrust that allows it to get off of the ground.


Friction between fluid particles that resist flow.


The measure of electricity's force, or pressure, as it flows through a circuit. Also described as the electrical potential difference. Voltmeters are devices that measure voltage.


One of the kinematic properties of fluid flow that describes the tendency or likelihood of fluid particles to rotate at an angle.

Vulcanized rubber

A rubber-curing process that involves heating it and removing the sulfur, which effectively waterproofs the material. Charles Goodyear discovered the vulcanization process by accident in 1843.


When an object moves through a fluid, that impact of that object against the fluid particles creates a pressure drag, or oppositional force. Since the object is moving through a fluid, the pressure drag forms a high-pressure region that trails behind the moving object, called a wake. Adam and Jamie's golf ball experiment (season six, episode 129) examines how that wake is affected by the presence and absence of the signature golf ball dimples.


The process of coating or treating something to repel water. When Jamie and Adam try to patch a hole in a boat with duct tape in season six's episode 125, they learn just how waterproof the sticky stuff really is.


An inclined plane often used to separate objects or pry things apart.


A mechanical device used to tighten or loosen slack on a rope line. It provides a mechanical advantage for lifting or dropping a load on the other end of the rope.

Wind engineering

The field of structural engineering dedicated to studying the effects of wind on buildings.

Wind energy

Energy derived from the motion of the wind. One of the most common forms of wind energy is captured through wind turbines, which convert the wind's kinetic energy to mechanical energy.

Windward side window

The window on the side of a house against which the wind is blowing (hence, windward window). In season six, episode 126, the guys test whether opening a windward side window during a hurricane puts more or less stress on your home by either adding or relieving air pressure.

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