Liquid nitrogen icecream

ice cream

While sitting in the heat at Defcon I wondered what the best activity for next year could be. I think liquid nitrogen ice cream has some great potential. It’s a pretty common freshman chemistry demo where you add liquid nitrogen to a standard ice cream recipe. As the -320degreeF nitrogen boils off it freezes the ice cream mixture resulting in one of the smoothest ice creams you’ll ever encounter. It is a simple task and you’ll see quite a few people that have tried it if you just google for it. Wear eye protection and heavy rubber gloves when working with liquid nitrogen. You’ll need at least a 5:1 ratio of N2 to ice cream. Mix it in a large metal container; a pressure cooker is probably your best bet. Most recommend mixing with a wooden spoon, but I think I’ll agree with DocBug “If it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing with power tools“.

[thanks XyTec]

33 thoughts on “Liquid nitrogen icecream

  1. Rubber will turn brittle with Liquid Nitrogen, crack and then you have exposed skin. There are special gloves for use with cryogenic materials.

  2. We actually have an ice cream shop in central Iowa that freezes with Nitro. It’s some of the best stuff in town. It was all set up by a few ISU students. It’s nothing new, but it’s damn good stuff. If you can get your hands on the Nitro, I highly recommend trying it.

    Check out a sports store… I know some paintball players use nitro for their markers…

  3. Not to mention most paintball “nitro” tanks are actually filled with plain old HPA (high pressure air, the same stuff we breath).

  4. we have an icecream place in town cloud 9 which makes their icecream this way (great for mixing flavors) anyway it is way overated

  5. If anyone in the UK used to watch the Royal Christmas Lecture things on boxing day….(or maybe it was actually christmas day…)…one of the lecturers tried to make ice cream in world record time, using the same method…

  6. Wearing gloves when using LN2 is far more dangerous than doing so without. If LN2 spills down the glove, you’re screwed; if it’s poured over an open hand, there’s far less risk (though cold burns are still quite likely).

  7. Best place to get liquid nitrogen is welding supply stores. The larger ones that carry tanks of welding gasses usually carry it. Try Airgas in the US.

  8. To obtain lN2 simply go to your local University with an NMR facility, find a chemistry grad student, and buy them a beer. NMR uses it in combination with liquid Helium to cool the magnets. Better yet get lHe(4 Kelvin, -452 F). Airgas sells it but I don’t know if just anyone can buy it from them.

  9. Sounds fun, could be ahem, interisting to do with either LH2 or LO2, or even better both togehter…

    [turns on drill to start mixing]
    CABOOOOMMMM

  10. Sounds fun, could be ahem, interisting to do with either LH2 or LO2, or even better both togehter…

    [turns on drill to start mixing]
    CABOOOOMMMM

  11. [8] hpa is high pressured air pulled directly from our atmosphere, which just so happens to be composed of 78.08% nitrogen [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nitrogen] this means hpa is almost 80% “nitro”. You cannot get 100% nitrogen fills. HPA == “NITRO”

  12. #25, that may be true for paintball, but in general 80%N/20%O is not the same as nitrogen. very very different in most applications. anyway, a pressurized gas cylinder isn’t going to be very useful for ice cream.

    Last time I wanted LN2 I looked under “cryogenics” in the phone book and found a couple companies willing to sell me a little bit of LN2, no problems.

    But as #22 says, if you know someone at a chemistry or physics (or nuclear medicine) lab, you can probably get some for free.

  13. This is quite fun to do, and it tastes pretty decent. Read something like this about a year ago. Apparently, though, the person making the ice cream wanted to make an alcoholic ice cream float. However, he decided to mix the alcohol with the ice cream/nitrogen. However, he did not heed his chemistry class: he forgot that alcohol has a much lower melting point, and therefore it could appear to be warm when it is actually very cold. The result: he died from freeze burns on his insides.

  14. I know we’re a bright bunch here, or are supposed to be…. but agitating such a dangerous substance as liquid nitrogen with power tools sounds unnessicarily risky to suggest.

  15. But risk is the spice of life! This reminds me about an old joke about explosives:
    How do you show you’re good with explosives?
    Hold out all 10 fingers.

  16. But before you have your ice cream you need to post a tutorial on how to cook a turkey with molten steel! Anyone out there crazy enough to do this?

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