The Ice bucket challenge for ALS has been a global phenomenon, with all sorts of people from celebrities and businessmen to your average Joe taking part. Some attempts brought epic fails to the table. If there was an award for the craziest IBC attempt, then the award should go to chemist Muhammad Qureshi. He decided to take the game to the next level. The chemist used liquid nitrogen instead of water for the challenge.
For those of you who are reading this and are not scientifically minded, I will try and break it down for you. If you don’t know, nitrogen has to be extremely cold before it becomes a liquid. In fact, it has a boiling point of −321 °F and it has a freezing point of −346 °F.
Qureshi trusts the laws of Chemistry and it’s a good job he knew what he was doing. When he undertook the challenge, he did not get immediate frostbite after pouring the liquid nitrogen on himself and manages to survive the incident without a scratch, or burn come to think of it. He did emphasize, however, that NO ONE should try this at home. Or anywhere else for that matter!
So, why did Qureshi not suffer immediate frost burn? The reason is because of something called theLeidenfrost Effect, which occurs when a surface temp is so hot that it creates a thin layer of vapor, which then lies between the surface itself and the liquid. This causes the liquid to become insulated and slows down evaporation. Clear?
In layman’s terms, Qureshi’s body temperature was so hot in relation to the temperature of the liquid nitrogen, that contact between the two surfaces creates an insulating barrier that saved him from suffering any immediate harm.
This does not mean, however that you can sit around after pouring liquid Nitrogen all over yourself. If you notice in the video, Qureshi had to constantly shake off any liquid from his hair, his skin and his clothes immediately after pouring it onto himself to make sure none of it got stuck anywhere.
[Image via theblaze]