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Introduction to the process of vaporization.

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Colder than Ice

Colder than Ice

Credit: D. Sharon Pruitt
Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/40645538@N00/5685106294/
License: CC BY-NC 3.0

There’s nothing better than ice water to quench your thirst on a hot day. Can you imagine a liquid colder than ice? 

News You Can Use

  • Liquid nitrogen is much colder than ice.
  • Nitrogen is a chemical element in group 16 of the periodic table. This is a group that contains metals, nonmetals, and metalloids. Nitrogen is a nonmetal.
  • You’re probably familiar with nitrogen in its gaseous state. As a gas, nitrogen makes up about 78 percent of Earth’s atmosphere.
  • Nitrogen is normally a gas on Earth because it has such a low boiling point. Boiling point is a physical property of a chemical substance. The boiling point of liquid nitrogen is a very chilly -196 °C (-320 °F). That’s the temperature at which gaseous nitrogen turns to a liquid or liquid nitrogen turns to a gas.
  • Because it’s so cold in the liquid state, liquid nitrogen has a number of uses. It can even be used in the kitchen.
  • Credit: Su==May
    Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/su-may/7954574798/
    License: CC BY-NC 3.0

    Ice cream made with liquid nitrogen has fewer ice crystals and is more creamy [Figure2]

  • Watch the short, entertaining video at the following URL to see how liquid nitrogen can be used to shatter raspberries. Also read the short article about it while you’re there. http://www.popsci.com/science/article/2013-04/watch-raspberries-shatter-slow-motion

Show What You Know

At the link below, learn more about nitrogen and how liquid nitrogen can be used in the kitchen. Then answer the following questions.

  1. Describe nitrogen in its gaseous state.
  2. What is the main industrial use of nitrogen?
  3. Liquid nitrogen is obtained from super-cooled liquid air. What process is used? Describe it.
  4. Why is liquid nitrogen so useful in the kitchen? What is the general purpose of using it in food preparation?
  5. What is the most common specific use of liquid nitrogen in food preparation? How does it work? What is the main advantage in using liquid nitrogen instead of more traditional methods for this purpose?
  6. List other kitchen uses of liquid nitrogen.

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Image Attributions

  1. [1]^ Credit: D. Sharon Pruitt; Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/40645538@N00/5685106294/; License: CC BY-NC 3.0
  2. [2]^ Credit: Su==May; Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/su-may/7954574798/; License: CC BY-NC 3.0

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