Do you like blowing bubbles? Well, how would you feel if you could blow foggy bubbles that bounce? Pretty awesome, huh? Check out this fun dry ice bubble experiment.
This experiment was quite simple and easy to do. This is what you need:
Large plastic bottle
Dry ice (see notes below)
Plastic tubing (try your DIY/Hardware store)
Bubble Solution (see notes below)
Small plastic cups (we cut down a large one, but smaller one would have been better)
An adult – see the very important safety notice below!
What is Buy Dry Ice and Where Can I Buy It?
Dry Ice is frozen carbon dioxide – the gas that you breathe out. Lets look at the freezing point of carbon dioxide (C02) in comparison to water (H20).
Water freezes at 32 degrees F / 0 degrees C
Carbon Dioxide freezes at -109.3 degrees Fahrenheit / -78.5 degrees C.
This is why Dry Ice is so dangerous to handle – at this cold temperature, even touching it for a second can give you really nasty frostbite.
When we look at ice made from H20, it is frozen as ice, then melts into water, then turns into a gas as water vapour.
Dry Ice made from CO2 bypasses the liquid stage and turns straight into a gas – this process is called SUBLIMATION
According to our research, budding US scientists can buy Dry Ice at their local grocery store. In UK, it is best ordered online – we used Chillistix.
What about the Bubbles?
We used everyday bubble solution, and found that the while it worked, the bubbles didn’t bounce very well. Many sites recommend a mix of dish soap (eg Fairy Liquid) and glycerin. We’d recommend getting some of this, to see if it makes a difference.
IMPORTANT SAFETY ADVICE
Do not attempt this without the supervision and assistance of an adult.
Do not use bare hands to touch the dry ice.
Carbon Dioxide is heavier than air and can concentrate in low places, or in enclosed spaces. Normal air has around 0.035% CO2, and we are introducing a lot of the gas into the room during this experiment. If the concentration of CO2 rises above 5%, you may feel very ill. For this reason, it is very important to VENTILATE the room – keep doors and windows open to let fresh air, i.e. oxygen in.
Since CO2 sinks, ensure that there are no small children or animals under your working height.
If you have to transport Dry Ice, ensure that it is in a separate area of the vehicle as the passengers – in the boot (trunk) of the car, and not in a hatchback.
With thanks to the amazing Fran Scott for advice on how to do this experiment and on the safety issues involved.