A young assistant helps with the balloon experiment.

A young assistant helps with the balloon experiment.

Mr. Freeze, aka Chris Stone, dazzled about two dozen children and their parents this past Wednesday at Coco’s Tropical Ice.  Anyone who has been to high school likely remembers the dumb fun one can have with liquid nitrogen.  Stone reminded us that nitrogen is still fun, even for adults.

Armed with gallons of liquid nitrogen, Stone and his assistants froze things, shattered things and performed some really cool tricks.

After explaining to the audience what liquid nitrogen is and how it is used – as well as some precautions – Mr. Freeze used creativity and gloves-on demonstrations to illustrate several scientific principles.  For the kids, it was a school break science lesson masquerading as fun.

For starters, Mr. Freeze filled a 2 quart beaker with liquid nitrogen and pulled out a bag of inflated balloons.  “How many of these balloons will fit in that beaker?”  he asked the crowd.  He and his assistant then proceeded to stuff all 10 balloons into the beaker.  He then pulled the balloons out one by one with a pair of tongs, dropped the balloons on the floor, and the kids looked on wide-eyed as the now shriveled balloons re-inflated on the floor.

The air in the balloons contracted in the cold of the nitrogen – -320 degrees Fahrenheit to be exact.  When exposed to the warmer air, the air in the balloons expanded, causing them to reinflate.

A helper looks on at the racquetball smashing aftermath.

The racquetball smashing aftermath.

There was, of course, the required freeze-a-racquetball-and-smash-it-on-the-floor trick, which Mr. Freeze accomplished with the help of a young assistant from the audience.  Donning goggles, apron, and heavy gloves, the young lady dropped the frozen ball which smashed with a loud “pop” on the floor.  The other kids loved this.

Another neat demonstration was placing a hard boiled egg atop an empty juice bottle filled with liquid nitrogen.  As the air inside the bottle cooled, the egg was pulled through the opening into the bottle.

As a grand finale, and a Mr. Freeze first, a jug of blue raspberry tropical ice mix was combined with liquid nitrogen to see if Coco’s ice could be made with nitrogen more quickly than by freezing.  Sure enough, after a couple minutes of adding the nitrogen and stirring rapidly, we had a bowl of tropical ice.

“The texture is not quite right” commented Coco’s owner Donna Raposo.  “But it was a lot faster than the way we do it!”