Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Physics and Biology: Dry Ice

Dry ice is unlike the ice we know and love. It's frozen carbon dioxide, and it's called "dry" because it passes from the solid phase directly into the gas phase, skipping the liquid phase entirely, resulting in some AWESOMELY weird and funky behaviors! It's CRAZY-cold, so cold in fact, we only handled the dry ice with a towel or tweezers....NEVER with our bare hands!

We demonstrated its COOLNESS in the following ways....
  • froze cooked pasta and flowers by dropping them in acetone with dry ice. (Acetone is good thermal conductor, so it gets really really cold.)
  • produced a lot of spooky fog.
  • "poured" carbon dioxide gas into a cup on a scale and noted that it weighed more than an equal volume of air.
  • used carbon dioxide gas as a fire extinguisher (Don't panic, the fire was a single lit candle).
  • made long-lasting carbon dioxide bubbles by adding dry ice to soap solution.
  • made the dry ice "squeal" and vibrate after pressing it with a metal spoon.
  • inflated a balloon by putting a piece of dry ice inside and then tying off the open end.

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