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Things to Do with Liquid Nitrogen

Liquid Nitrogen Activities and Projects

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Dippin' Dots Ice Cream is made by flash freezing ice cream with liquid nitrogen.

Dippin' Dots Ice Cream is made by flash freezing ice cream with liquid nitrogen.

RadioActive, public domain
You can make liquid nitrogen ice cream.

You can make liquid nitrogen ice cream.

Nicolas George

Are you looking for an activity or project with liquid nitrogen? This is the most extensive list of liquid nitrogen ideas you're likely to find, plus you're welcome to add your own suggestions.

  1. Make liquid nitrogen ice cream.

     

  2. Make Dippin' Dots type of ice cream.

     

  3. Fill a whistling-style teapot with liquid nitrogen. The liquid will boil, even if you set the tea kettle in a freezer.

     

  4. Make little hovercrafts by freezing small pieces of chalk in liquid nitrogen. Remove the chalk and set it on a hardwood or linoleum floor.

     

  5. Pour some liquid nitrogen into a pot of boiling water to make instant fog. Of course, you can get a much bigger effect if you add liquid nitrogen to a fountain or pool.

     

  6. Place an inflated balloon in the nitrogen. It will deflate. Remove the balloon from the liquid nitrogen and watch it reinflate as it thaws out. An air-filled balloon will deflate and inflate, but if you use a helium balloon you can watch the balloon rise as the gas warms and expands.

     

  7. Add a few drops of liquid nitrogen to a drink you want to cool. Examples include wine or soda. You'll get a cool fog effect, plus a cool drink.

     

  8. For a party or group, freeze graham crackers in liquid nitrogen. Wave the cracker around to warm it up a bit and eat the cracker. The cracker has an interesting texture, plus people eating crackers will be spouting clouds of nitrogen vapor. Miniature marshmallows also work quite well. The risk of injury from either food is quite low.

     

  9. Freeze a banana in liquid nitrogen. You can use it to hammer a nail.

     

  10. As a demonstration that even antifreezes freezes if it's cold enough, solidify antifreeze using liquid nitrogen.

     

  11. Dip a carnation, rose, daisy or other flower in liquid nitrogen. Remove the flower and shatter its petals in your hand.

     

  12. Use a squirt bottle of water to spray designs into liquid nitrogen vapor.

     

  13. Spin a tub of liquid nitrogen to create a vapor vortex. You can float paper boats or other lightweight objects in the maelstrom.

     

  14. Pour a cup of liquid nitrogen into about a liter of warmed bubble solution to produce a mountain of bubbles.

     

  15. Pour a small amount of liquid nitrogen into a Pringles can and pop the lid on. The vapor will (loudly and forcefully) pop the lid off.

     

  16. Break an incandescent light bulb (type with a filament). Turn it on in the liquid nitrogen. Cool glow!

     

  17. Bounce a lightweight hollow ball on a hard surface. Immerse the ball in liquid nitrogen and try to bounce it. The ball will shatter rather than bounce.

     

  18. Pour liquid nitrogen onto weeds to kill them. The plant will die, with no toxic residue or other harm to the soil.

     

  19. Examine the color change of LEDs under normal temperatures and in liquid nitrogen. The band gap of the LED increases at lower temperature. Cadmium red or cadmium orange [bandgap of Cd(S,Se)] are good choices.

     

  20. Foods high in water will break with a tinkling sound like glass when smashed. Orange segments are a good choice for this project.

     

  21. Insert flexible rubber or plastic tubing into a dewar of liquid nitrogen. The nitrogen will spray out the end of the tubing, onto you or the audience, etc. so use care that you have protection on the hand holding the tubing and that there is enough distance at the top of the tubing for the nitrogen to vaporize before contacting people. Although the tubing was flexible at room temperature, at liquid nitrogen temperature it becomes brittle and will shatter if hit with a hammer or whacked on a lab bench. If you twist the tubing around itself before putting it in the nitrogen, the tubing will uncoil itself as it thaws, in a sort of serpentine manner.

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