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More on designing your own Dry Ice Experiments.

Now you’re ready to create completely original dry ice experiments.

Start by asking yourself, “What am I interested in learning more about?”

Let’s say you want to learn more about “Dry Ice Fog.”

Dry ice fog in a fountain

First, brainstorm some questions you have about fog. For example:

  • Does a dry ice fog machine produce more fog than just dry ice and water?
  • How does the temperature of the water effect how much fog is produced?
  • Does dry ice produce more fog with running water than with still water?
  • How does the size of the dry ice block effect how long it takes to disappear?
  • Does adding food color to the water effect the color of the fog?

Maybe you like the first question best, so you pursue it.

Before you start working, ask yourself some more questions:

  • Can I get all the equipment I need?
  • Is it safe?
  • Can I answer the question in one experiment? (Is this question too big?

In this case, maybe you thought you could get a dry ice fog machine, but you couldn't.

Then you need to go to your second choice. Let’s say you like the last question:

Does adding food color to the water effect the color of the fog?

You can get some food coloring; it's safe; it's easy. This is a good question.

Now you need to plan the experiment. For help with planning an experiment visit this page.

Turn silly ideas into great dry ice experiments

If you’re ready to do a little extra work, you may want to measure how the color of the fog changes (or doesn’t change). I’ve yet to see a student try this, but here’s what I would do.

  • Make dry ice fog using water with no food coloring, red food coloring, blue food coloring, and green food coloring.
  • Use a digital camera to take three pictures of each “color” of fog.
  • Use image-editing software (such as photoshop) to record the levels of red, green, and blue at ten random points in each photo. (In Photoshop, first make sure that under Image--Mode, it is set to “RGB Color.” Open the color window, and click on ten spots using the little “eyedropper” tool. The mix of red, green, and blue will be displayed in the color window.
  • Plug the data into a spreadsheet program (such as excel) to see if the average amounts of red, green, and blue differ between the photos.
  • Even better, use the correlation function in your spreadsheet to analyze the data. Go to this page for more information on how to do this cool experiment.

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