Hooked on Science: Make a cloud with dry ice

Thursday, February 9, 2012

You can create your own cloud with a few simple materials.

Materials

* Pan

* Water

* Dry ice

* Bowl

Instructions

STEP 1: Fill the pan half full with water.

STEP 2: Place thermal gloves on your hands. Using a hammer, crush the dry ice into pieces. Place the pieces of dry ice into a bowl.

STEP 3: Place the pan on the stove and bring the water to a boil.

STEP 4: Using thermal gloves, remove the pan of water from the stove. Place the pan of water on a heat-resistant surface.

STEP 5: Using thermal gloves, from a distance above the pan of hot water, quickly pour the dry ice into the pan of hot water.

Explanation

When you placed the dry ice into the warm water, a cloud formed above the bowl. Dry ice is frozen carbon dioxide and is minus 109.3 degrees. As dry ice breaks down, it turns directly into carbon dioxide gas. In science this process is called sublimation.

Jason Lindsey is a science outreach educator with Hooked on Science. Check out his website www.hookedonscience.org for webcasts and experiments that might get you hooked on science. Send him your science questions at jlindseyhookedonscience.com.

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