• Question: Do you make things explode?

    Asked by 335rutq35 to Kathryn on 14 Mar 2019.
    • Photo: Kathryn Boast

      Kathryn Boast answered on 14 Mar 2019:

      I’ve only made little explosions (so far!). I have a nice little experiment where you put some liquid nitrogen into the bottom of a bottle and put a balloon over the top. Liquid nitrogen is at -196C, so it warms up and boils really easily, and when it goes from being a liquid to being a gas, it expands 700 times! As in 10ml of liquid (which is tiny) becomes seven litres of gas, which is huge! So the balloon gets bigger and bigger and bigger as the nitrogen liquid turns into a gas. And sometimes it does go BANG.
      I also do some stuff with liquid oxygen, which can make things spontaneously combust – which means they set themselves on fire. At the moment I’m trying to find a way to prove that it’s liquid oxygen by setting fire to it (BOOM) – but in a safe and controlled way of course…! I