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Frostbite Theater

Dry Ice vs. Liquid Nitrogen!

Dry ice is cold. Liquid nitrogen is cold, too. What happens when the two are mixed together?

Announcer: Frostbite Theater presents... Cold Cuts! No baloney!

Joanna and Steve: Just science!

Joanna: Hi! I'm Joanna!

Steve: And I'm Steve!

Joanna: Have you ever wondered what happens when you mix dry ice and liquid nitrogen?

Steve: Well, we just happen to have a chunk of dry ice left over from when we filmed 'How to Make a Cloud Chamber,' and here at Jefferson Lab, liquid nitrogen flows like water, so we're going to find out!

I think you spilled a little bit.

Joanna: Just a little bit!

Steve: Now while the liquid nitrogen is cooling down the container, I'm going to try to knock a chunk off the dry ice with my fossil hunting hammer!

Joanna: There's a chunk!

Steve: Taking a long time for that glass to cool down, isn't it?

Joanna: Um hum!

Steve: Okay. Now that it's pretty settled, we'll take the dry ice, and we'll drop it in the nitrogen!

Well, the first thing that happened is that the dry ice sank to the bottom.

Joanna: And we see that the liquid nitrogen is boiling pretty rapidly.

Steve: Since the dry ice sank, that means it's denser than liquid nitrogen is.

Joanna: And since the liquid nitrogen is boiling, that means that the dry ice is hotter.

Steve: It turns out that dry ice is only 110 degrees below zero, but the nitrogen is 321 degrees below zero.

So, to answer the question, "What happens when you mix dry ice and liquid nitrogen?" You get colder dry ice and less liquid nitrogen!

Joanna: Thanks for watching! I hope you'll join us again soon for another experiment!

Steve: So, who would have thought dry ice is so hot?

Joanna: I know, right?

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