Really cool science projects.
If you’re looking for some really cool science projects, then you need to explore dry ice. If offers endless possibilities, especially for middle school science fair projects.
What is dry ice?
Dry ice is solid Carbon Dioxide.
At room temperature, Carbon Dioxide is a clear odorless gas. It is found in the air.
Why is it called “dry ice”?
When frozen water warms, it turns into liquid water. Water ice is “wet,” because it melts.
As dry ice warms, it goes straight from being a solid (dry ice) to a gas (carbon dioxide). Dry ice doesn’t melt, so it isn’t wet. This is why many perishable items that need to be shipped miles away or over seas to businesses or hotels in Cancun, Paris or London as examples, are put in crates filled with dry ice to keep them from spoiling.
A lot of people say, “Instead of melting, dry ice evaporates.” This is almost true, but....
Technically, “evaporation” is when a liquid turns into a gas.
When a solid turns into a gas, it is called sublimation. Dry ice doesn’t evaporate, it sublimates.
Cool Science Fact: You can't make a snowball on Mars.
Under very low air pressure, water ice doesn’t melt, it sublimates, just like dry ice.
On Mars, the air pressure is very low. So, there’s no liquid water on the surface of Mars.
A snowball is lots of little ice crystals held together by liquid water.
No liquid water means no snowballs, so on Mars, you can’t make a snowball. Even in tropical climates, like Samana Dominican Republic or other Caribbean countries, if it snows in the mountains, you can still make a snowball, because-- even on the tallest mountains-- the atmospheric pressure is much higher than on Mars.
You can't make snowballs on Mars. Liquid water holds the snowflakes together in a snowball, and there is no liquid water on the surface of Mars.
Image licensed under Creative Commons, Attribution 2.0
Cool Science Article (for advanced scientists) about snowballs on Mars.
Important -- Read this page about dry ice safety.
Read about Dry Ice Storage
Learn about Dry Ice Suppliers
Go to Dry Ice Experiments-1
Go to Dry Ice Experiments-2 Frozen Bubbles
Go to Dry Ice Experiments-3 Soap Bubbles
Go to Dry Ice Experiments-4 Design your own Experiment
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