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Liquid Nitrogen on a Balloon

You will need:

  • Unless you have liquid nitrogen and formal training it's safer if you don't try this experiment
  • A balloon, tongs, a metal plate and liquid nitrogen
  • Safety glasses are an absolute must. This material is incredibly cold (-196o C), consider gloves.
  • Do not run this experiment in an enclosed room.



  1. Blow up a balloon and place it on a metal plate.
  2. Holding the balloon with metal tongs, carefully pour the liquid nitrogen over the surface of the balloon.

    nitrogen on a balloon
    Liquid nitrogen on a balloon 
  3. Hold balloon up and allow the balloon to drip the liquid nitrogen off it.
  4. Watch what happens as the balloon warms up!

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What is going on?

Charles's Law says that for each 1 degree drop in temperature an ideal gas will drop at the same rate in volume. (i.e. it's proportional). Liquid nitrogen is - 196 degrees Celsius and causes the air inside the balloon to reduce in volume... as air inside the balloon drops in volume it exerts less pressure on the inside of the balloon, allowing the constant air pressure outside the balloon to 'squash' it.

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