Liquid Nitrogen Smoke Cloud!

Among my favorite new pieces of science equipment are my liquid nitrogen dewars. A dewar is a special container designed to store liquefied gases. It is like a special thermos but much larger. When you have a dewar and are trained in safely handling one, you can do science experiments with liquid nitrogen.

Liquid nitrogen is a super cold liquid version of nitrogen. It is so cold that is boils at −320 °F. That is 352 degrees colder than the temperature that makes water freeze. And it is even colder when it is still a liquid! That’s cold!

My first dewar after filled for the very first time! It weighs over 100 pounds filled and is being loaded into the Yuckmobile with a forklift!
My second dewar is the one I use for shows. It is much smaller and has a blue wrap. My sometimes co-host Luke is shown with it here!

One of my favorite demonstrations with liquid nitrogen is making a ‘smoke cloud.’ The smoke is actually a nitrogen being released as a vapor. In this demonstration, you poor warm water into a container of liquid nitrogen. The extreme temperature change causes the nitrogen to turn into a vapor immediately, and if you watch closely, you can see little chunks fly out, which are piece of a ice that were instantly frozen by the liquid nitrogen. That’s really, really cold!

Making a ‘smoke cloud’ with liquid nitrogen

Follow this blog or subscribe to the Yuck Science youtube channel to see more liquid nitrogen demonstrations soon!

29 Replies to “Liquid Nitrogen Smoke Cloud!”

    1. Thanks, Isaac! This demo in particular gets me every time! It feels magical to stand in the cool air of these clouds. I can’t wait until we can be back in schools again and share it will students.

    1. I bet! I sometimes smile to think some kids today are going to look back on their childhoods when they are 40 and remember the kooky science guy that made things blow up and covered people in slime!

    1. Chemical supply companies such as Airgas or Praxair sell liquid nitrogen. You will need a DOT-approved dewar to make a purchase. It is a lot of fun to do this demo, but be sure to also learn about safe handling before buying your own supply!

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