Got some liquid nitrogen, hydrogen peroxide, and a catalyst?
If so, you can collect a test tube’s worth:
Get the Flash Player to see this content.
To prepare liquid oxygen:
- Get a standard 3% hydrogen peroxide bottle from the store.
- I have found that bottles are filled close to the top. Pour off about 50 mL or so. Otherwise the liquid will bubble up into the balloon.
- Add a pinch of MnO₂ or other suitable catalyst.
- Adding more catalyst causes too much bubbling and material gets up into the balloon.
- Chicken liver should work other than there might be big bubbles with material in the balloon.
- Fit a balloon over the mouth of bottle.
- It takes a half hour or so to fill the balloon.
- I found it works best to prepare one filled balloon in advance.
- Show how to start the reaction and start to fill the balloon.
- Place that aside for the next class/demo.
- When removing the balloon, it works well if a pinch clamp is used.
- Fit the filled balloon over the mouth of a test tube of suitable diameter for the balloon size.
- Release the pinch clamp.
- Place in liquid nitrogen.
- In about ten minutes, there will be a sizable volume of beautiful, ever-so-light-blue, paramagnetic liquid oxygen.
Can a wet paper towel burn?
- Roll up a paper towel so that it will fit inside the test tube containing any leftover liquid O₂.
- Insert the rolled up towel into test tube.
- Pull out and ignite.
- It burns ashless!