Cloud Explosion – Fun with Frederick and Fleming

Frederick & Fleming Cloud Explosion

In today’s segment we wanted to show an explosive reaction that would create a cloud in the studio. This is one experiment to NOT do because liquid nitrogen is extremely cold and should only be used by those experienced with it. The reason you shouldn’t do this at home is because we will be working with liquid nitrogen, which is about 320 degrees below zero so frost burns are possible if you aren’t safe.

Nitrogen is fairly common in our atmosphere as roughly 78% of the air we breath is nitrogen and only 21 percent is oxygen. Today we will pour all the liquid nitrogen into the garbage can and then add some hot water into the liquid nitrogen. The rapid warming of the extremely cold liquid nitrogen will cause it to rapidly boil and create the explosion. A lot of water vapor is put into the air and it condenses to produce the cloud that you see.

In nature we see thunderstorms explode. Obviously storms don’t use liquid nitrogen, but still the concept applies. We have a lot of potential energy that is released causing upward motion and the clouds form.

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