On June 28th, Cool Science visited the Colorado National Guard Youth Summer Camp program. The pre-teens watched demonstrations of liquid nitrogen at -320°F, which exhibits some really bizarre properties.
They were amazed at how liquid nitrogen instantly flash boils when it touches human skin due to the extreme temperature difference. The gas created by the boiling lifts the remaining liquid and levitates it like a little hover board so that the droplets roll off the skin without harm. After the show the campers made their own ice cream and Dippin’ Dots with the super cool nitrogen.
It was clear from the day’s activities that many of the kids were fascinated by the science behind simple physical processes like boiling, freezing, evaporation and condensation, and best of all they got to learn about the science in fun and interesting ways. Who doesn’t enjoy science when it results in delicious ice cream!
-posted by Joshua
On June 27th, Cool Science returned to the Basalt Regional Library to give lucky young patrons a closer look at liquid nitrogen- and some cool frozen treats! Since this group was mostly young teenagers we were able to present an extended show teaching them about many amazing properties of this super cold liquid.
Teens and parents alike were fascinated as a little bit of the cryogenic liquid was injected into a ping pong ball through a tiny hole, only to quickly boil causing the ball to spin at high velocity as the gas shot out of the hole (check out a video from our YouTube channel below).
Of course we also froze flowers and hot dogs in the -320°F liquid, causing them to shatter like glass. One of the most popular demonstrations was when the liquid nitrogen floated across the surface of the table, gliding on cushions of gas. This is called the Leidenfrost effect and happens because the nitrogen is so cold it flash boils instantly as it touches the hot surface of the table. After the show, the teens made their own ice cream and Dippin’ Dots thanks to the amazing properties of liquid nitrogen.
It was another excellent event where the smaller number of teens allowed for a more intimate and personalized experience with this very cool liquid. The parents were more entranced by the alien-like properties of the substance than even their teens!
-posted by Joshua
On June 26th, Cool Science took the show on the road to demonstrate the science behind everyone's favorite frozen treat at libraries in Basalt and Aspen. First up in the morning was a show at the Basalt Regional Library, where kids ranging from preschool age to young teenagers learned how ice cream is made and what makes it so delicious. Later that afternoon we moved on to Aspen’s Pitkin Country Library where an eager group of kids roared and cheered as they watched a frozen hot dog smashed to pieces and a massive cloud explode from a bucket liquid nitrogen and hot water.
After the shows, the kids had the chance to make their own cup of ice cream by cooling down a mixture of milk, cream, and sugar with liquid nitrogen. Making ice cream is usually a slow process, but when rapidly cooled by liquid nitrogen, which is as cold as the planet Uranus, (-320 °F) you can have a frozen treat in just a couple minutes.
Cool Science’s day in the mountains was an excellent chance for kids and parents to learn how ice cream is made and, even better, make it happen with their own hands!
-posted by Joshua