Soul crushing pain can come from
the most unlikely of sources.
Like stepping on a little
two-gram block of plastic.
But how can something so innocent
looking cause such extreme
and mind bending kind of pain?
(Reactions SPLASH Intro)
The feeling of pain is all about survival.
It’s our bodies way of letting our
brains know that danger is at foot.
In this circumstance, literally.
Physical pain is a chemical process,
and when talking pain, you’re
going to be talking nociception.
Nociceptors are special sensory cells
in your body that are our first line of
defense in keeping us out of harm’s way.
Surprisingly, the root of the word,
“Nocer” means “to hurt” in latin.
In your skin, you have these two
different types of pain sensing nerve
fibers, A-Delta and C fibers with these specific tasks:
(ONSCREEN TEXT: A-delta Fibers: quick
to respond — can sense acute, pricking, piercing pains C fibers: slower to
respond — can sense dull, burning, lingering, pains)
In the case of Lego stomping, A-Delta cells do most of the talking.
When triggered, your nociceptors then
send electrical signals to your brain,
basically saying, “OW.” These signals
are propagated from the site of the
pain (your foot) to your brain with the help of
chemicals called neurotransmitters.
These two neurotransmitters play
the largest role in pain, but there
are many more being studied and
researched (Glutamate Substance P).
Quick fun fact: Before the painful message
travels ALL the way from your foot to
your brain along the path to the A-delta
fibers, your nociceptors instigate what’s
called the “withdrawal reflex” —
basically the message gets sent to the
spinal cord first, which then informs
your motor neurons in the affected area
to get the heck out of here.
So in other words, you actually move your
foot away from the Lego before your
brain has had a chance to comprehend the
immeasurable pain you’re about to endure.
So that’s enough about pain,
what about these little guys?
They’re made out of ABS Plastic,
which is a rather clever terpolymer.
“Ter” is Latin for thrice.
Pretty logical, here’s why.
This is an Acrylonitrile butadiene
styrene (ABS) polymer chain.
Inside of it, there’s three monomers,
each with their own unique purposes.
Acrylonitrile there is to
give the plastic strength.
1,3-butadeine is there to give the plastic
resistance from snapping, and styrene’s
in the house to give it that nice shiny, hard surface.
With all three powers combined, these
bricks don’t give way under pressure.
Especially from the bottom of
your soft, sensitive foot.
So when you step on one of these dangerous
little bricks, the force of your weight
concentrates itself into the point of contact.
And if you’re unlucky like me, that
usually is right about here.
But to simplify this example let’s just say
you stepped on the full top surface.
Now the bottom of your foot can have up
to 200,000 individual sensory receptors
which is exceptionally dense given
the small surface area they occupy.
Then, for an average person of 165lbs,
there’s around 3 million pascals of
pressure being concentrated onto
the top surface of the brick.
And thanks to the custom chemical
tailoring of ABS Plastics that brick
doesn’t give up at all under the pressure
of your weight, cramming it way up
into your foot, giving your A Delta
fibers a lot to talk about.
So be careful out there folks.
For all you Lego lovers out there, we want to see your
favorite compounds built out of bricks.
搭建砖块 照相 并
Build them up, take a picture and
post them down in the comments!
And while you’re at it, if you have any
chemistry questions, post them down
there in the comments as well
and we’ll try to get back to you.
If you want to learn more about what
happens to your body when your about
to die, check out this video or if you
want to learn about spicy foods, another
kind of pain, check out this one.
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