I Fully Submerge My Hand in Liquid Nitrogen!
2010 09 21

By Theodore Gray | Popsci.com



Protected By Science My hand is like a red-hot poker to the liquid nitrogen, but an insulating layer of nitrogen gas forms- a phenomenon known as the Leiden-frost effect- keeping my hand safe and warm for a fraction of a second. Mike Walker

When I first saw this photograph of a man’s hand submerged in liquid nitrogen at somewhere below -320° F, my immediate thought was, “That guy must be crazy! One second in that stuff, and you’re shopping for new skin!” My shock was tempered only slightly by the fact that it was my hand, and we’d taken the picture just a minute earlier.



I hadn’t realized that my hand was quite so deep into the liquid. Amazingly, I barely felt the cold at all. My skin didn’t get hurt for the same reason that water droplets dance on a hot skillet. An insulating layer of steam forms almost instantly between the water and the metal, keeping the droplets relatively cool as they float for several seconds without actually touching the hot surface. To liquid nitrogen, flesh is like that skillet—a surface hundreds of degrees above its boiling point. So the moment my hand touched the liquid, it created a protective layer of evaporated nitrogen gas, just as the skillet created a layer of steam. That gave me just enough time to put my hand in and pull it out again. Any longer than that, and frostbite would have set in.


Hot Water: Droplets on a very hot skillet take longer to evaporate than they would on a less-hot surface where no insulating gas layer forms. Mike Walker


The phenomenon is called the Leidenfrost effect (after Johann Gottlob Leidenfrost, the doctor who first studied it in 1756). I’d known about it for years, but when it came time to test it in real life, I have to admit that I used my left hand, the one I’d miss less.
I drew the line at another classic example of the effect. According to the books, it’s possible to stick a damp finger directly into molten lead without getting burned, if you do it fast enough. After some consideration, and remembering the times I’ve been burned by molten lead, I decided that it probably wouldn’t make a very good picture anyway.

ACHTUNG! Do not try this. If liquid nitrogen soaks into your clothes, you will not be protected by the Leidenfrost effect, and you can get frostbite very quickly.

Article from: popsci.com





Related Articles
Liquid armour ’can stop bullets’
Spray-on liquid glass is about to revolutionize almost everything
Scientists Develop High Strength Bendable Liquid Metal
The ballooning shortage of helium
Leidenfrost Effect, SLOW MOTION Solar Skillet (Video)


Latest News from our Front Page

’Digital twins’ will make decisions for us - and even console loved ones after we die by 2020, futurist claims
2014 09 23
By 2020, our day-to-day lives, relationships and even what to have for dinner could be controlled and run by digital versions of ourselves. According to futurist John Smart, within the next six years many of us could have so-called ‘digital twins’ that schedule our appointments and even have conversations with others on our behalf. And they could one day console loved ones ...
Israel Joins The Fighting, Shoots Down Syrian Warplane Which Acted In "Threatening Manner"
2014 09 23
Whether as a result of recent icy to quite icy diplomatic relations between the two nations, or just because it has other motives, Israel had clearly abstained from joining the US effort to contain the CIA-created ISIS terrorist juggernaut. However, overnight, with the US finally doing what Israel has hoped it would do for so long, namely being engaged in ...
Proof Ebola Is Airborne And U.S. Troops Will Be Caught In A Death Trap
2014 09 23
“Help needs to come fast. Because even if the new U.S. aid starts to slow down the epidemic next week, it will take a year or a year and a half to wipe out Ebola from West Africa,” says Jeffrey Shaman, an associate professor of environmental health sciences at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health. He’s making models of ...
Your Smartphone Broadcasts Your Entire Life To The Secret Service
2014 09 23
Intelligence services collect metadata on the communication of all citizens. Politicians would have us believe that this data doesn’t say all that much. A reader of De Correspondent put this to the test and demonstrated otherwise: metadata reveals a lot more about your life than you think. Ton Siedsma is nervous. He made the decision weeks ago, but keeps postponing it. ...
Scots were tricked into voting ‘No’ – Salmond
2014 09 23
London politicians gulled Scottish voters out of independence by making a false “vow” to grant Glasgow extra powers, First Minister Alex Salmond has said. He also raised the prospect of another referendum, saying the break-up is inevitable. Alex Salmond, leader of the ’Yes’ campaign and the outgoing head of the Scottish National Party (SNP), told the BBC’s Sunday Politics program that ...
More News »