Blow up a balloon with solid carbon dioxide experiment
Most substances have three states – solid, liquid, and gas. When they go from a solid to a gas, they usually turn into a liquid in between. Ice is a good example. It first melts into a liquid and then evaporates into a gas. Sublimation is when a chemical compound turns from a solid to a gas without turning into a liquid in between. Solid Carbon dioxide (or dry ice) and iodine are two compounds that sublime. When dry ice sublimes, it turns directly into carbon dioxide gas which expands in the process. Therefore, we can take dry ice, let it sublime into a gas, and use the gas to blow up a balloon. Follow these steps:
- Blow up a balloon and tie it off so no air leaks out.
- Take the lid off the plastic soft drink bottle.
- Drop a few pellets of dry ice into the plastic bottle.
- Fit the balloon over the top of the plastic bottle.
- Notice that the balloon begins to inflate as the dry ice sublimates. You can shake the bottle to make it expand a bit faster (air currents make the dry ice sublimate faster).
- Once the balloon is full, tie off then end so no carbon dioxide leaks out.
- Take the balloon filled with carbon dioxide and the balloon you blew up and drop both at the same time. Note how the balloon filled with carbon dioxide drops faster. That’s because carbon dioxide is heavier than air and denser.
Another interesting aspect of the heavier density of CO2 in the balloon is that it focuses sound and gives an amplification type effect. Speak through the balloon to demonstrate.
Blow up a balloon with dry ice experiment
Note: You may have heard of “dry ice bombs.” Placing dry ice in a balloon and placing it on top of some water will cause the balloon to expand and freeze to the water it was placed on top of. Typically, it will pop, especially if someone tries to pick it up. In other demonstrations on the Internet, they may put the dry ice in a hard, sealed container such as a plastic bottle or glass bottle. This can be an extremely dangerous and dumb thing to do. The sound of the explosion can damage ear drums even if you are not close, and of course, pieces of debris (i.e., broken plastic or glass) can fly and hit you (or even go through you).
Blow up a balloon with dry ice experiment supplies
Supplies: Plastic bottle, Balloon, Dry ice
In-Article Image CreditsDry ice in a cup via Wikimedia Commons by Shawn Henning with usage type - Creative Commons License. September 11, 2008
Featured Image CreditDry ice in a cup via Wikimedia Commons by Shawn Henning with usage type - Creative Commons License. September 11, 2008