Friday, July 1, 2016


Sublimation is a transition directly from a solid phase to a gaseous one. Given typical Earth atmospheric conditions, one of the most commonly observed examples of sublimation is that of solid carbon dioxide, aka dry ice. Submerging dry ice in water both speeds up the sublimation – since water is a better conductor of heat than air –and creates ethereal fog that’s a combination of the expanding carbon dioxide and condensate from the water.

This gorgeous video from Wryfield Lab lets you admire the process close-up. As the dry ice sublimates, watch for the ice crystals that grow on its surface. This is deposition–the opposite of sublimation–and comes from water vapor freezing onto the dry ice.

A warning for those who want to try this at home: only do this in well-ventilated spaces. The shift from solid to gas requires a huge increase in volume. Carbon dioxide is denser than air, so it does stay low to the ground, but you can still suffocate yourself (or children or pets) if you do this in an enclosed space.


Video credit: Wryfield Lab; via Gizmodo

h/t FYFD

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