09/25/2012 08:01 am ET

Canned Air: Bike Lock's (New) Worst Enemy, Used To Chill Steel And Shatter It (VIDEO)

You know the warning on cans of compressed air, the one that cautions you from shaking the can during use, or inverting the can before squeezing the trigger?

Turns out the white liquid it expels when you do that isn't just potentially hazardous to your health -- it could also encourage thievery.

That's because the liquid is difluoroethane, a refrigerant that evaporates at -13°F. Cold enough, according to Popular Science, to chill the steel in bike locks and make them extremely brittle.

Then a thief could potentially hit the lock with a well-placed hammer a few times and shatter the critical bits to pieces.

As the video below illustrates, this process is more difficult than it sounds, and any bike thief pounding away on a frozen lock is sure to draw some unwanted attention. Still, it may be worth doubling up on lock technology, or at least bringing your bike inside if it's valuable enough.

WATCH: 'Breaking Locks With Science,' above [via Popular Science].



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