The Smash Lab crew is tasked with finding a way to make driving off a cliff in a car survivable. Chuck and Gadget go for airbags fitted on the outside of the car while Deanne and Nathaniel compete with stabilizing rods that shoot out from all sides.
A car experiencing front-impact smash and a t-bone crunch at 55 miles per hour is a pretty alarming scene but the Smash Lab crew thinks they how to make a car survive it. They're trying out reactive armor technology and a cool new metal-aluminum foam to make the ultimate crash-proof car.
Every year, hundreds of storms batter the United States causing millions of dollars of damage to property and wrecking lives. The Smash Test team thinks they've found the perfect solution for threatened homes -- a revolutionary new material made of carbon-fiber cloth originally designed to reinforce concrete support beams. The team puts it to the test by applying it to a mobile home before subjecting it to wind gusts up to 150 miles-per-hour.
Almost nothing can stop a determined hijacker driving a stolen 18 wheeler at top speed. In what will be Smash Lab's toughest challenges yet, Chuck and Gadget devise ways to jam the drive wheels and deliver a knock-out punch to the drive while Nathaniel and Deanne adapt technology from aircraft carriers.
Earthquakes strike without warning and require very little time to do unimaginable damage. Help is at hand, however, as the Smash Lab mavericks look for a home-saving solution in the hold of an aircraft. Aircrafts use a ball-bearing floor system to move cargo with almost zero friction -- a technology that may be used to isolate a house from a shaking ground. The final answer is found only after much testing and building an artificial earthquake machine capable of going right off the Richter scale.
It's the middle of winter and a couple is stranded in massive snowdrifts. They're out of cell phone range, the snowplow isn't coming by anytime soon and to make matters worse, she's pregnant. Smash Lab resorts to extreme engineering to help out the troubled couple. Chuck and Gadget begin working on a jet-powered snowplow while Nathaniel and Deanne devise a hot-air balloon that could pop right out of the car.
The Smash Lab team sets out to improve the chances occupants have of escaping buildings on fire. Roller coasters use amazing magnetic brakes with no moving parts the team thinks could also be used for an automatic vertical escape system. To see if it works, a stuntman must slide down a hundred-foot tower with only the freaky power of Smash Lab's 21st-Century fire escape standing between him and a sticky ending.
Forest fires endanger lives and property every year so the Smash Lab team sets out to see if Nanogel -- a cutting-edge insulating material -- can protect a house from nature's mightiest infernos. The light material is supplied in granular form and is a solid that flows flows like water. The team uses this material to construct a fire-proof blanket with unbelievable properties but must first figure how how to throw it over a building and find a tame forest fire before they can test it.
Millions of Americans travel while towing all kinds of heavy trailers but what happens when the brakes burn out while going downhill? The Smash Lab crew has an idea that involves using retro firing rockets to bring trailers to a safe, controlled stop -- a not-so-crazy notion that could be both safe and reliable. After an extended bout of rocket science, the team comes to grips with space shuttle technology for the road.
Out of range of helicopters, stranded sailors often have to wait for a passing ship to bring salvation -- an opportunity that may be days away. The Smash Lab team decides to use top-secret torpedo technology to revolutionize mid-ocean rescue with a coast guard life boat that can be dropped out of a long-range plane. The principal is to use a phenomenon called super-cavitation where a high velocity stream of gas bubbles is blasted from the nose of an object as it travels through water. The system would allow a coast guard boat to be flown right to the scene of the accident, have it deployed right into the water and bring a full crew with it.
The Smash Lab crew dons their lifejackets and takes to the water hoping to use parachute technology to eject someone from an out-of-control speedboat. The team sends two speedboats toward each other hoping to eject someone in time to escape the crash zone -- the ejection must be fast enough to get the would-be victim out of harm's way, but also lets them down slow enough to avoid injury once they hit the water.
The team takes on its biggest challenge yet -- repurposing a new material called Blastwrap. This material-filled membrane is used to soak up the energy from a bomb placed inside a public trashcan and the team thinks it can protect an entire Boeing 747 from a similar explosion. To simulate the process, the team finds a suitable sacrificial 747 and attempt pressurize the big bird despite it not having its doors.