It Slices, It Dices–With a Minuscule Jet of High-Speed Water Instead of a Knife

By Veronique Greenwood | June 13, 2012 2:57 pm

A moonpie sliced with a water jet cutter: Not a crumb out of place.

There are many wonders of engineering, confined to the labs and warehouses of industry, that we laypeople never get to see. That’s the case with the water jet cutter, which fires out a thin stream of water through a diamond nozzle at nearly the speed of sound and can slice through everything from peaches to linoleum with the greatest of ease.

It’s been around in some form since the 1950s, but if you’re not in the business of cutting things into ever-smaller pieces, you may not have come across it.

Here is a cutter made by Paprima going through beets like a knife through butter:

If you’ve never chopped a beet, let me enlighten you: beets are like spheres of wood. You may be tempted to pull out a hatchet to make any kind of serious progress—or, you could reach for a tiny stream of pressurized water.

That stream of water has a delicate touch, too. It can slice through food items as fragile as canned peaches and leave not a scratch on them, except for a thin line of empty space. It also, as long as the water is clean, does not leave bacteria on them, which is a downside of using a metal knife to process sliced foods.

As you might have surmised by now, its slicing powers do not magically stop before human flesh. It will whirr through your finger like it whirrs through a strawberry cheesecake (which, yes, it does: see all of Paprima’s videos and photos here).

That’s one reason, perhaps, why we won’t be seeing them in kitchens anytime soon.

[via PopSci]


  • guest

    Wow! Wouldn’t have thought water could be used this way.

  • Wil

    Industrial water jets are routinely used to cut stainless steel, tungsten carbide, titanium, granite, and other hard materials. Using it to cut anything softer than aluminum is like using a small atom bomb to clear the weeds out out your driveway.


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