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Old 01-18-2008, 01:22 AM   #1
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Liquid Nitrogen question

Someone said to me that if you put a tennis ball in Liquid Nitrogen that it will shatter if you drop it.

I thought things could only shatter if they were natural (like fruit, vegetables, meats?, leaves, etc).

I saw a youtube video and some people tried shattering a printer with Liquid Nitrogen and they were wondering why it didn't shatter.
Old 01-18-2008, 02:31 AM   #2
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Well a tennis ball is made from rubber so it is organic maybe. But I think it has more to do with the material - i.e. if something is naturally soft, like organics or rubber, then it will harden and shatter, but something that is already hard, like a printer, won't.
Old 01-18-2008, 02:42 AM   #3
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I think dive is right. Rubber will become hard and brittle. PVC will not become brittle so it will not shatter.
Old 01-18-2008, 08:01 AM   #4
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I think:
The material that printers are made of, hard plastic and metal, are molecularly denser than a tennis ball or an apple. So, when you freeze the less dense material, the less dense structure of the object will allow the bonds to break easier.

Ok, so I just pulled that out of my rear ...
Old 01-18-2008, 08:20 AM   #5
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Test it out yourself and post your results here.
Old 01-18-2008, 08:32 AM   #6
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In general, materials have what are called "phase transitions" at various temperatures. What exactly happens at a phase transition depends on the material.

Water is easy: solid, liquid, gas
Carbon dioxide: solid, gas (liquid only if it is pressurized)

Something like rubber and plastic is maybe more complicated. I suppose that something becoming brittle at cold temperatures is analogous to freezing but I think there are differences. To make matters worse, "rubber" can mean a zillion things these days. Most things called "rubber" are some form of synthetic.

For some light reading, do a Google using "material properties of polymers"
Old 01-18-2008, 08:55 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by colinstu View Post
I thought things could only shatter if they were natural (like fruit, vegetables, meats?, leaves, etc).
There's nothing inherently different there between "natural" and "un-natural" should be looking at material properties. Specifically whether it becomes fragile when it's cold. Rubber? Probably...
Old 01-19-2008, 01:44 AM   #8
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There are some rubber trees that has sap that is usable "rubber." That (latex) is then processed into what we use - I would think that what comes out (condoms?) after processing would be less resistant to the effects of the liquid nitrogen.

I did a Wikipedia search on the rubber tree:
Pretty interesting.
Old 01-19-2008, 08:20 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by polarbear20000 View Post
I would think that what comes out (condoms?) after processing would be less resistant to the effects of the liquid nitrogen.
DO NOT dip your condoms in liquid nitrogen before using them.

Old 01-19-2008, 02:23 PM   #10
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Didn't shatter. Reading your posts it looks like maybe a tennis ball would shatter, still kinda iffy on it though.
Old 01-19-2008, 04:07 PM   #11
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Careful,liquid nitrogen will freeze your willy. So make sure your not wearing the condom when you test it.
Old 01-22-2008, 02:02 PM   #12
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do not try at home


Originally Posted by bbjester View Post
Careful,liquid nitrogen will freeze your willy. So make sure your not wearing the condom when you test it.
I do not care if somebody loses something.

However, liquid nitrogen is potentially very dangerous.

***** DO NOT TRY AT HOME, both KIDS and NON-KIDS *****

Stay happy, Penguins!

Happy Penguins!
Old 01-25-2008, 12:07 PM   #13
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I guess it would just crack, not shatter.
Old 01-26-2008, 08:18 AM   #14
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it shatters even when you just throw it away after freezing....i have seen it myself...


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