Forums > Technical Discussion > Darwin awards: liquid nitrogen?

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thatliagalSILVER Member
Member
4 posts
Location: USA


Posted:
So, y'all are going to love this (HYPOTHETICAL!!!) question. I was reading some stories from the Darwin Awards (awards for people who do things so stupid that they should be removed from the gene pool) and there was this story about this one dude who drank liquid nitrogen. He survived even though one of his lungs collapsed and his digestive system shut down... He then went on to detail how one of his chemistry classes had all held liquid nitrogen in their mouths and breathed ice crystals.... So, you know what I'm going to ask... has anyone ever breathed liquid nitrogen? Does this seem possible? And (most importantly) what would it look like?

EwokkiBRONZE Member
Member
30 posts
Location: United Kingdom


Posted:
Thats the thing, it doesnt. The bottom layer of it condeses too quickly for any of it to touch your tongue. Of course, thats only if you use a small amount of the stuff.
Like spilt water on a cooker, it will take ages to boil off even though the temperature is plenty high enough.

squarefishSILVER Member
(...trusty steed of the rodeo midget...)
403 posts
Location: the state of flux, Ireland


Posted:
The reasoning behind this is flawed folks.
People seem to be thinking that just because a drop of gas is floating on a layer of vapour that it is somehow safe.
This is fundamentaly WRONGO people!

The liquid gas is drawing thermal energy (heat) from the tissues underneath it to create this layer of vapour and it is this phase change which cools down and eventually freezes the tissue.
Who the hell would want to run even a slight risk of getting frostbite on their toungue?

Do they really relish the idea of having a blackened rotting stump where their tongue used to be?
Eurgh!

Methinks it might have a bad effect on your chances of getting that hot date at the weekend............

I've also seen a man take a spoonfull of molten lead into his mouth and spit it back out onto a plate as a solid lump.

Another monumentally dumb idea that people seem to think is SOOOO COOOOL!!!!!

Just because you can do something doesn't mean you should.

MikeIconGOLD Member
Pooh-Bah
2,109 posts
Location: Philadelphia, PA - USA


Posted:
Written by:

Who the hell would want to run even a slight risk of getting frostbite on their toungue?




If youre gonna ask this question you might as well ask "Who would want to swallow a sword? Lay on a bed of nails? Eat glass? etc"

The answer to all those questions is sideshow performers. Sideshow performers find things that appear to be (or actually are) dangerous, learn how to do them as safely as possible, then display them to an amazed audience. No, drinking liquid nitrogen is NOT something everyone should do for the hell of it. It CAN kill you. However, when you know what youre doing and have a reason to do so, its not as dangerous as it seems. [censored], its the same thing with fire spinning. People see it as crazy dangerous stuff, but when youre a fire spinner, you know what youre doing and that its not so bad. In addition to liquid nitrogen, my best friend and sideshow performer Barry SIlver works with dry ice. He handles it with his hands, licks it with his tongue, and breathes steam with it held in his teeth. Ive heard of others playing catch with it and even breaking blocks of it it over their heads/torso with sledge hammers.while laying on nails. Yes, this stuff is dangerous, but thats what makes it fun wink Let's turn those old bridges we crossed into ashes. We'll blaze a new trail, and torch the rough patches. -Me

TheGreatSaintGOLD Member
Member
48 posts
Location: Canada


Posted:
Written by: squarefish


Who the hell would want to run even a slight risk of getting frostbite on their toungue?




people who get a rush from putting their tounge on frozen poles. Duh!

I heard of story of someone loosing their tounge because it got stuck and they panicked. Can you imagine the tounge just sitting there, frozen to the pole.

squarefishSILVER Member
(...trusty steed of the rodeo midget...)
403 posts
Location: the state of flux, Ireland


Posted:
wouldn't it just rip away the surface of the tongue instead?
Major owie but at least you could still talk,
...maybe

MikeIconGOLD Member
Pooh-Bah
2,109 posts
Location: Philadelphia, PA - USA


Posted:
Thats what you'd THINK would happen...

...and its what COULD happen if you don't know what youre doing...

...but like I said, sideshow performers make their living off of doing the "impossible." Let's turn those old bridges we crossed into ashes. We'll blaze a new trail, and torch the rough patches. -Me

KorinFoxGOLD Member
member
24 posts
Location: Maryland, USA


Posted:
Putting like a spoonful of liquid nitrogen in thr mouth is for the most part safe as long as you don't swallow. I've seen it done, multiple times (I go to a really geeky college where LN2 can be obtained rather easily) and essentially it just rolls around on your tongue and evaporates quickly because your mouth is warm/hot enough. Trying to drink the damn thing, probably not a good idea at all, the stomach lining isn't good against acid, but LN2? yeah Vagueness defines everything...

JayKittyGOLD Member
Mission: Ignition
534 posts
Location: Central New Jersey, USA


Posted:
sounds like it would look really wicked. I had a blast when i did my time in the chem lab. Geeky chem tricks rock, I managed to swipe enough copperchloride to make a nice sample flame, not enough to burn with, but fun to play with Don't mind me, just passing through.

DenGadGOLD Member
member
45 posts
Location: Copenhagen, DK, Denmark


Posted:
Since the heat conductivity of a gas is much lower than a liquid, it works, but you don't want to do it for very long obviously.
The most impressive demonstration of this I've seen was a lecturer in thermodynamics that put his wet hand into a bucket of molten lead.
The water instantly evaporates creating the layer of insulating air.
Of course he only had his hand in there between a half or whole second, and if he'd left the smallest dry spot he'd be in big trouble.

Personally I'd much rather play with fire.

Invader XanSILVER Member
Your friendly neighbourhood mad scientist
479 posts
Location: Over the hills and far away, United Kingdom


Posted:
Seriously. You'd have to be immensely stupid to try this. Cryogenic liquids are a lot of fun, but I'm told a cold burn is much MUCH more painful than a fire burn. The leidenfrost effect will work, but there's no guarantee. A sudden movement of your head and it'll hit your tongue. Then your tongue will turn all black and frostbitten and you'll probably have difficulty speaking and eating for at least a few months.

Emptying a flask of liquid nitrogen onto the floor, however, is really cool. Actually, I always thought that'd make a sweet start to a performance. It's like an instant smoke machine! Makes a funky hissing noise too.
The big question is where exactly any of us spinners might get liquid nitrogen from...



Oh yah, and back when I was in labs someone devised this really mean practical joke. Spit into some liquid nitrogen. Then pick it out with a pair of tongs (it freezes instantly) and put it into someone's pocket. =)
Hey, I said it was mean... "Love the art in yourself and not yourself in the art."
--Konstantin Stanislavisky

razzaSILVER Member
member
43 posts
Location: Helensburgh, Australia


Posted:
imym was a chemist timmy is no more wat timmy thought was H20 was really H2So4 Horsepower is how fast u hit a tree. Tourqe is how far the tree goes with u

MikeIconGOLD Member
Pooh-Bah
2,109 posts
Location: Philadelphia, PA - USA


Posted:
I got around to playing with some dry ice the other night. It was pretty cool (no pun intended). You can hold it for like 3 seconds before it gets dangerous. I was able to juggle it, rub it on my body, and lick it. Didnt wanna put it in my teeth tho. My friend used it earlier in his show with no problems, however, he did screw up a bit when he broke a block of it on his chest with a hammer... Some of the smaller dust like pieces fell and collected in his belly button. He didnt get up and get it out quick enough so he got a bit burnt. Not bad, but visible. Let's turn those old bridges we crossed into ashes. We'll blaze a new trail, and torch the rough patches. -Me

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