Kids watched in awe as rubber balls shattered, flowers broke and balloons expanded automatically, thanks to nitrogen.

Ever seen a flower that breaks, not bends? Ever seen a rubber ball breaking into smithereens when hit with a hammer? Ever wondered what makes a green-coloured LED (Light Emitting Diode) turn yellow? That is the power of nitrogen.

Regional Science Centre, Tirupati, launched a new science show called “Cold Show” to highlight the properties of nitrogen and also its applications in the medical and industrial arenas. S.M. Khened, Director of Visvesvaraya Industrial and Technological Museum (VITM), Bangalore, inaugurated the expo, while the centre’s project coordinator R. Manigandan presided.

Fun experiments

The audience comprised students drawn from various Government schools on the inaugural day. Through various eye-catching experiments, they were taught how nitrogen gas stays stable at a highly negative temperature. When a rubber ball was dipped in nitrogen, it became as hard and brittle as coal and broke into pieces when brought under the hammer. Similar was the case of a hibiscus flower, a banana and such other delicate and flexible articles.

A balloon in contracted position was dipped in liquid nitrogen and when taken out, it started expanding. When liquid nitrogen was poured into a copper vessel, it got moist on the outside. As water droplets, liquid oxygen hung from the vessel’s exterior, which we know as dry ice. “It does not convert into liquid, but evaporates and due to sublimation,” the educational officer Durgaiah explained to the students. Hence, nitrogen can be used to preserve blood and organs, he said.

The students watched the demonstration with awe and clapped merrily when the “unbelievable” things took shape before their eyes.

The demo will be given on all working days, in the morning and evening, for the benefit of visitors.