M4 Water Bottle Explosion


Phase change of matter requires either the input or extraction of energy from it. Some phase changes are easy to bring about, i.e. the energy change is very small, while others are not. Phase change in matter is also frequently accompanied by changes in properties, such as pressure of gas, which at times may produce dramatic results.


M4 Chemistry Matter II: State and Energy. Powerpoint slides on the relationship between state of matter and energy content of particles in a sample of the matter.

Discrepant Event

Liquid nitrogen is poured into a plastic bottle containing some water. It is then inverted over a ring clamp. Watch the video to find out what happens next.

And the question is this: Why did the liquid nitrogen cause the plastic bottle to break up so violently?

Concepts involved:

  • heat transfer, boiling/evaporation, temperature/heat, pressure, number of gas particle (additional concepts: gas  law, moles of gas particles)

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