Get in the Spooky Spirit — Create a Dry Ice Bubble

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By Brianna Siciliano

Dry ice is a frozen carbon dioxide, which is the same gas that we exhale out when breathing. When dry ice reaches temperatures above -69.5 degrees Fahrenheit, it changes directly from a solid to a gas, without ever being in liquid form. When dry ice is put in water, it accelerates the process of transformation from a solid to a gas, creating clouds of fog that fill up a dry ice bubble until the pressure becomes so great that the bubble is forced to explode. When the bubble explodes, fog spills over the edge of the bowl.

The most important thing to remember when working on this experiment is being careful! Dry ice can be very dangerous if it is not used safely. Adults who will be handling the dry ice should wear gloves to protect their skin. Also, do your best to avoid directly breathing in the vapor that the dry ice gives off. It is recommended to preform this exciting experiment outside, so the vapors are not inhaled by adults or children.

Materials needed to create a dry ice bubble are:
• Water
• Safety gloves
• Dish soap
• A piece of scrap material that is about 1″ thick by 10″ long
• A bowl and a cup
• Dry ice (can be purchased in grocery stores)

The first step needed to create a dry ice bubble is: put a chunk, or a small piece, of dry ice into the bowl. The bigger the bowl you use, the bigger the bubble! After putting the chunk of dry ice in the bowl, add water to the bowl––fill the bowl up to 1/2 or 3/4 of the way full. When you do this, you will notice that the dry ice will be changing forms from solid to gas. 

Next, pour some soap into the cup or glass that you have set aside. Dilute the cup of soap with water and make sure to mix the soap and water well. Then, put the piece of material in the soapy cup and let the material soak up the soapy water. When the material is soaked in the soapy water, pull the material out of the cup and use it to coat the rim of your bowl with the soapy water mixture. After you do this, quickly dip the material back into the soapy water and hold the material out with two hands. Run the material across the entire bowl (make your way from one end of the bowl to the other). Once this is done correctly, you will see the beginning of the bubble forming. Wait for the bubble to get bigger and bigger. If it does not work the first time, add a little more soap to your soapy water mix and try it again. If all the steps are followed correctly, all that is left to do is stand back and watch your bubble grow in size!