[Paul] is sick and tired of his homemade root beer being flat. He analyzed the problem with his carbonation techniques and ended up with a method of force carbonating beverages using dry ice.
He starts of by discussing the various methods that are used to carbonate beverages. There’s the old yeast and sugar trick that takes place inside of a sealed bottle. But this takes time, and if you don’t calculate the mixture correctly you could have over or under carbonated bottles (or exploding bottles in the case of glass beer bottling). [Paul] himself has tried the dry ice in a cooler full of root beer method. The problem is that the cooler isn’t pressurized so the carbonation level is very low. You need to have cold temperatures, high pressure, and the presence of carbon dioxide all at the same time in order to achieve high levels of carbonation.
His solution is to use a 60 PSI safety valve. He drilled a hole in a plastic bottle cap to receive the valve. He then drops a few chunks of dry ice in and seals it up. The valve will automatically release the gas as the pressure builds past the 60 PSI mark. What he ends up with is a highly carbonated beverage in a matter of minutes.
If you don’t mind spending some cash you can use an adjustable pressure regulator. This way you can carbonate just about anything.
[Kenneth] and [Jeff] spent a weekend building a cloud chamber. This is a detection device for radiation particles that are constantly bombarding the earth. It works by creating an environment of supersaturated alcohol vapor which condenses when struck by a particle travelling through the container, leaving a wispy trail behind. This was done on the cheap, using isopropyl alcohol and dry ice. They already had a beaker, and after a few tries figured out that the dry ice worked best when serving as a bed for the flask. A black piece of paper was added inside the base of the container to help raise the contrast when looking for condensate. They experimented with a couple of different methods for warming the alcohol, including an immersion heater built from power resistors.
There’s a video explaining the apparatus which we’ve embedded after the break. It’s a bit hard to see evidence of particle travel in the video but that’s all the more reason you should give this a try yourself.
Continue reading “Your Very Own Cloud Chamber”
[Alexander] sent in his entry into a “creativity contest” at his university. He and some friends put together this dry ice cannon. Take note of the creative mechanism they used to mix the water with the dry ice. A large amount of gas is expelled as soon as the two begin to meet. If the gas is supposed to escape through the same opening, it is difficult to get all the material through. They have added a second opening just for the exhaust during mixing. Great job guys. How about some downloadable plans.