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Space and Physicschemistry

What Happens When You Add A Drop Of Liquid Nitrogen To Gasoline?

author

Danielle Andrew

Editorial Intern

clockOct 10 2015, 08:50 UTC
2859 What Happens When You Add A Drop Of Liquid Nitrogen To Gasoline?
ResoneTIC/Pixabay.

We all know by now that liquid nitrogen is a pretty cool chemical to play with (carefully and using the correct safety equipment of course), but it turns out that it also makes gasoline behave pretty strangely too.

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Liquid nitrogen droplet on gasoline

 

The movement of the liquid nitrogen drop is caused by the Leidenfrost effect, which states that when a liquid (in this case liquid nitrogen) comes into contact with another liquid that has a much higher boiling point than its own (the gasoline), it instantly produces a separating vapor.

As the much hotter gasoline (usually room temperature) hits the liquid nitrogen at between –210°C and –196°C (–346°F and –320°F), vapor produced by the rapidly boiling nitrogen causes it to effectively hover above the gasoline. As the liquid nitrogen hits the side of the bowl, it boils again, flinging it off in another direction before it eventually evaporates.


Space and Physicschemistry
  • liquid nitrogen,

  • chemistry,

  • gasoline