Heathrow security insists that ice is a liquid


Originally published at: http://boingboing.net/2015/09/10/heathrow-security-insists-that.html

Chunk of gallium melts in your hand

OK, we all agree the 3 oz. liquid rule is ridiculous and arbitrary. But it would be even more ridiculous and arbitrary if this kind of loophole actually worked.


Cute. I’ll bet he feels awesome now.


I think that the TSA agents would be considered as doing the right thing by refusing someone wanting to go through security with a frozen liquid. You can argue for the side on intent, if a person freezes something with the goal of thawing it out and later consuming it in liquid form then it should be considered a liquid. However if something is solid and has no reasonable/easy way to become a liquid for the duration of the flight or airport stay then it should be fine.


It’s a potential liquid. Nuke it from orbit to be sure.


How about my gallium spoon?


At what temps do the liquids they are trying to keep out freeze?


except that preventing people from drinking liquids is (purportedly) not the reason for the ban, it’s that liquid components of explosives could be brought on board, no? In this case would these mysterious liquids even be freezable at room temperature?


A couple months ago one of the TSA (U.S.) line management barkers actually encouraged the line I was in to freeze their liquids to get around the 3oz rule. Proof that the U.S. is still a science leader.


That’s an important point. The plane itself will turn to a liquid if you get it hot enough.


Never thought I’d side with the TSA, but this guy is a jerk.


As will most things, really. Maybe the ‘potential liquid’ argument isn’t so strong after all.


One component freezes at very low temps, well below the freezing point of water. The other freezes at or around 0 degrees C. The intended product is a solid at room temperature. @shaddack educated me in an earlier thread a while back on the fact that they’re trying to get acetone peroxide. Ironically, having ice on hand would make it easier. The fantasy is that multiple terrorist can bring in precursors, drop them off in a bathroom one by one, and the last one mixes them together and magically gets explosive.

The reality is that a terrorist would have to use one of the tiny airplane bathrooms like a lab and have to be be in there for the entirety of a long-ass flight.

ETA: Now trying to imagine using an airplane sink to make an aspiration vacuum. It’s a hilarious image.


I think if they were to find a way to clarify, they might say it can’t be a liquid at room temperature.


Heathrow Airport, so not TSA.



Gallium can do quite a harsh job on the aluminium parts of the aircraft.

…can’t we just scrap the no-liquids rule and make the world a bit less annoying…? We need more people poking around senseless “security”.


Or just buy and mix stuff from duty free on secure side.

Or better yet just bring through the actual weapons and explosives, no need to try and get all fancy with pre-cursors etc.


I know this was in Heathrow, but TSA does allow over sized liquids to go on if they’re frozen, if they’re in a slushy state they can’t go. I haven’t tried it, but I wonder if they would allow shampoo or body wash through if it was frozen? I know they’re liquids, but I wonder if there’s a limit to what they would consider reasonable. Pro tip: If you do freeze your liquids make sure you pull them out of your bag and place them in a bin so the person on the x-ray machine can instantly check instead of calling a bag check.


Isn’t the fantasy much more doable if they do it on the ground in the airport post-screening area?