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Science

Taking the Ice Bucket Challenge With Liquid Nitrogen 182

Posted by samzenpus
from the coldest-shower dept.
Nerval's Lobster writes As a trend, the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge seems a bit played out—who hasn't yet dumped a bucket of icy water over his or her head for charity? But that didn't stop Canadian chemist Muhammad Qureshi from executing his own sublimely scientific, potentially dangerous variation on the theme: After donating to the ALS Association, he proceeded to douse himself with a bucket of liquid nitrogen. Anyone who's taken a chemistry class, or at least watched the end of Terminator 2, knows that liquid nitrogen can rapidly freeze objects, leaving them brittle and prone to shattering. Pouring it on your skin can cause serious frostbite. So what prevented that bucketful of liquid nitrogen from transforming Qureshi into a popsicle? In two words: Leidenfrost effect. Named after 18th century scientist Johann Gottlob Leidenfrost, the effect is when a liquid comes near a mass that's much warmer than the liquid's boiling point, which (in the words of Princeton's helpful physics explainer) results in an insulating vapor layer that "keeps that liquid from boiling rapidly." In other words, the vapor makes the liquid "float" just above the surface of the object, rather than coming into direct contact with it.
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Taking the Ice Bucket Challenge With Liquid Nitrogen

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  • by Opportunist (166417) on Thursday September 04, 2014 @12:49AM (#47823147)

    My first reaction when I read this: I think we found the winner of 2014's Darwin Award. No, not that guy. But some copycat who has, unlike him, no clue about Physics and insists in topping the performance.

  • by Opportunist (166417) on Thursday September 04, 2014 @12:51AM (#47823151)

    By weeding out the ones that don't know when to quit.

  • by ruir (2709173) on Thursday September 04, 2014 @02:58AM (#47823429) Homepage
    Idiocracy was right on. The fucking bucket challenge is no better than ow my balls. Mod me down at will.
  • by Chris453 (1092253) on Thursday September 04, 2014 @07:01AM (#47823971)

    criticizing people who are doing good things.

    Actually no. Doing a good thing would be donating to charity. Most of the people doing this are just doing it because they saw it online or have a friend that did it and they want to be cool. Monkey see, monkey do. I bet a large number of the people doing the "challenge" don't even know the reason behind it. Instead of sharing stupid videos of clowns pouring water over their heads maybe we should be sharing videos of people writing checks to the charity. Of course that isn't as "exciting" for the ADD/ADHD generations.

  • by thegarbz (1787294) on Thursday September 04, 2014 @07:08AM (#47823989)

    It's slacktivism at its best. Seriously the whole point of the challenge was do something that causes discomfort and donate a little or forgo the discomfort and donate a lot. Yet we have an internet full of loaded celebrities like Oprah (who has a freezer draw of ice in her kitchen, like seriously how much money does one need to make before they can install something like that in their house?) who then go and douse themselves.

    So far the only one I have seen who did it right was Patrick Stewart [youtube.com]. Write a big check instead of putting yourself through the discomfort.

    The financial results of the campaign would be amazing if it weren't for the fact that many of the people participating make more money in a year than was donated in the entire campaign.

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