The new note was brought into circulation last September and people have tried ripping, washing and microwaving the polymer fiver to test its limits, with limited success.
University of Nottingham professor Sir Martyn Poliakoff has found the solution: liquid nitrogen and a lump hammer.
In a clip uploaded to his Periodic Videos series on YouTube, the professor said: "The Bank of England is issuing new bank notes starting with the five pound note, and they made them plastic and there have been all sorts of advertisements that you cannot break them.
"I felt immediately challenged, and I had the idea that if we froze it with liquid nitrogen, the strands of the polymer would be frozen rigid and you may be able to break it, hitting it with a hammer."
Neil Barnes, Sir Martyn's assistant, can then be seen successfully breaking the note into pieces.
Sir Martyn said: "Unfortunately, he (Neil) lost one of the pieces so I couldn't glue it together and spend the note, so it's a souvenir."
A new and old fiver were then placed into a beaker and had fuming nitric acid poured onto them to see what effect the powerful cleaning agent would have.
The Queen's face on the new note was faded, and slowly all the detailing on the note was removed to leave a transparent piece of plastic.
The professor added that he had given Mr Barnes several of his own notes to use, as "you can't spend university money on things like this".