Big Bang Theory with ‘Dr Hal’

I got distracted from my usual wildlife watching today by some exceptionally loud bangs and explosions. It was all in the name of science outreach.|

One of the campus roads was closed off while Professor Hal Sosabowski and colleagues demonstrated the science of gas expansion with bottles of super-cooled carbon dioxide and liquid nitrogen. Basically (and I am no scientist) the supper cool gases are crammed into a tight space and expand as they heat up causing a massively loud explosion. The carbon dioxide (sequence hear expands to 50 atmosphere’s of pressure. The bottle can contain a mere 5 atmospheres. Hence… yes, you can work it out.

Professor Hal Sosabowski

Dr Hal Sosabowski demonstrating gas expansion at the University of Brighton.

Prof Hal Sosabowski

Dr Hal Sosabowski demonstrating gas expansion through explosions of carbon dioxide and liquid nitrogen during a science outreach session a the University of Brighton, Moulsecoomb campus.

Super-cooled carbon dioxide

Super-cooled carbon dioxide

Bottle about to explode

Under pressure

exploding bottle

BANG!!!

And then on to the powerful stuff.. liquid nitrogen.

Handling liquid nitrogen

Handling liquid nitrogen

Filling the bottle

Filling the bottle

The liquid nitrogen bottle placed in a bucket

The liquid nitrogen bottle placed in a bucket

Explosion!

Explosion!

For more on ‘Dr Hal’ and educational tools and experiments you can do at home, see here.

Camera note: all photos taken with the Canon 7D Mark II and EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM lens.

3 Comments

  1. der Wandersmann February 19, 2018 at 5:01 am #

    LOL! Quite a change of pace, Paul!

  2. Words February 19, 2018 at 11:15 pm #

    It beats staring at car parks which is pretty much all there is around work where I am at the moment! Saw some great video of it today as well.

  3. Darko February 21, 2018 at 1:27 am #

    I think that exploding liquid nitrogen at my home would be strongly against my rental contract agreement and the company who owns the building would oppose that 😀 But it’s nice to see some applied physics 🙂