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Head Squeeze

Can the ‘Walkie Talkie’ building really melt a car?

This week it was reported that sunlight reflected from a London skyscraper melted parts of a Jaguar sports car and sparked a fire. Is this possible? The team behind Head Squeeze decided to find out.

Number 20 Fenchurch Street, or the “Walkie Talkie”, as the distinctively shaped building is known to Londoners, has been in the news this week for all the wrong reasons. According to reports, sunlight reflected from its mirrored facade melted parts of a Jaguar sports car in a nearby street and triggered a fire in a barber shop.

But is this possible? The Head Squeeze team carried out experiments to test this out. The characteristic curve of the skyscraper is acting like a parabolic mirror, which is great at reflecting energy to one single point. The Sun kicks out an enormous amount of energy, every second the sun produces the same energy as about a trillion 1 megaton bombs.

To show just how hot it can get all you need is a mirror, paper, cotton and a toy car.

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