Spark the Conversation

Spark Science: Shrinking Balloon Animals with Liquid Nitrogen!

October 10, 2017
Posted By: TELUS Spark

When nitrogen is cooled down at extremely low temperatures it becomes a liquid! Liquid Nitrogen boils at -196 degrees Celsius- super cool - and it can be used to showcase the relationship between temperature and volume!

Materials:

  • Liquid Nitrogen
  • Dewar
  • Scoop
  • Glass Beaker
  • Balloons
  • Safety Gear! 

Charles’s Law of ideal gases states that when there is a decrease in temperature there is also a decrease in volume and vice versa.

 As inflated balloons are dipped into a Dewar of liquid nitrogen, it will rapidly shrink, condense, and lose its energy due to the drastic decrease in temperature – which means the volume will also decrease.

When the inflated balloons are relieved from the liquid nitrogen, the balloon temperature is now much lower than that around it, which causes energy to be pulled in increasing the temperature and also the volume of the balloon making it reflate once again!

 

Challenges

How many balloons can you fit in a small container?

Try helium balloons too!

Have fun and stay cool.