Hot charcoal + liquid oxygen = fun science experiment in slow-mo (video)

I love this stuff. Science has always thrilled me, and all the more fun when there’s a chance of something exploding.

The University of Nottingham – one hopes of “sheriff of” fame – decided to do a little experiment with dropping hot coal into liquid oxygen, and watching what happens, all filmed in slow-motion.

And I love that they got an actual mad scientist to do the experiment, hair and all.


Oxygen liquifies at -299.2 degrees Fahrenheit (-184 Celsius). And I suspect they used liquid oxygen instead of liquid nitrogen (which liquifies at -322.6 Fahrenheit) out of concern that the nitrogen would boil, produce Nitrogen gas, and simply extinguish the charcoal.

Instead, they got some interesting results, where the charcoal first bounced, then seemed to jump around the pot, growing brighter and dimmer, back and forth.


It’s a neat video, for those of you who are science-minded, or simply like to potentially watch things blow up :)

Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Instagram | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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