It was fun to see David Willey on The Tonight Show this evening doing some nice variations on the classic sulfur hexafluoride (SF6) demo. This is the inert gas that is six times heavier than the air we breath. If you breath in helium (six times lighter than the air we breath), the pitch of your voice goes up. However, if you breath sulfur hexafluoride (six time heavier than normal air), your voice sounds low. You’ll find a complete explanation of the sulfur hexafluoride demo or anti-helium experiment as some call it in my experiment library.
For the Tonight Show, David filled an open top plastic box with the gas and proceeded to float aluminum foil boats and bubbles on this very dense gas. These demos got a nice reaction from the audience. Instead of inhaling the SF6 gas from a balloon, David had Jay Leno dip his head down into the box and inhale some of the gas. As you might imagine, Jay had fun with his “Barry White” voice.