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