Drama With Dry Ice

Auntie J brought over a couple of tubs of ice-cream. They had packed it with dry ice, and rather than let the ice go to waste, we thought we’d try to recreate the “Singapore Wedding Dinner Effect” – the one where the newlyweds walk in to banquet hall and wedding coordinator cues dry ice machine. Done well, it can lend an air of romance. Mostly we just lose sight of the couple for a few moments πŸ™‚

Anyway, if you happen to get some dry ice with your ice-cream, this is lots of fun to try at home. It’s as dramatic as the home-made volcano, and the effect lasts longer. All you need to do is…plonk the dry ice into a bowl of water. And that’s it.

Here’s our dry ice sublimating in water

dryice1.jpg

Athos, Aramis, Pilgrim Dad and Porthos blow hard and are obscured

dryice2.jpg

Near the end the fog lessens and you can see the carbon dioxide bubbles more distinctly. The boys want to know whether adding in food colouring will make the fog change colour. (Yes, it’s the Pilgrim family food colouring motif….) So we try it and are pleased to confirm that only the water changes colour πŸ™‚

dryice3.jpg

 

If your kids are up to the science, you can explain that dry ice is frozen carbon dioxide, and the process of changing from solid to gas without becoming liquid is called sublimation. More on that here. You can also find other cool dry ice experiments here.

But please do remember that dry ice experiments MUST be supervised by adults. Dry ice has unique properties which can be dangerous –

  • Do not handle dry ice with your bare hands because it can cause frostbite. Best to use tongs or a scoop. Obviously, do not taste or eat dry ice either.
  • Do not store dry ice in your freezer for use later. It’s cold enough to freeze your thermostat….
  • Do not store dry ice in a sealed container. Dry ice expands as it sublimates, creating enough pressure for a massive explosion.
  • Do the experiment in a well-ventilated area. Carbon dioxide does not support human life….
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One response to “Drama With Dry Ice

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