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CNET Australia Podcast

Thanks for the memories  July 26, 2012

A scientist, liquid nitrogen and 1500 ping pong balls

About The Author

CNET Editor

Michelle Starr is the tiger force at the core of all things. She also writes about cool stuff and apps as CNET Australia's Crave editor. But mostly the tiger force thing.

(Screenshot by Michelle Starr/CNET Australia)

Liquid nitrogen is pretty dangerous stuff on quite a few levels — not the least of which is volatile explosiveness.

The boiling point of liquid nitrogen is -196 degrees Celsius — so at room temperature, it becomes a gas very, very quickly. As it vapourises, it expands — so if you put it in an enclosed space, things can get a little ... explodey.

To demonstrate how this works, Dr Roy Lowry of the UK's Plymouth University put together the following:

  • A plastic bin

  • Some warm water

  • A plastic bottle

  • Liquid nitrogen

  • 1500 ping pong balls.

You're probably already imagining the results, but it's even better than that. Watch the video below to see. We recommend you watch the whole thing, because of the science — but if you're too impatient, skip to about 3.45 for the money shot.

That would have been a right bollocks to clean up.

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StevieC posted a comment   

total anti climax.

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