Experiments with KVRR Meteorologist Scott Sincoff: Ballooning Dry Ice

Fun and Easy Science Experiments

This week, Meteorologist Scott Sincoff worked with Ben Franklin Middle School Earth Science Teacher Barry Olson to experiment with the sublimation of dry ice.

What you need for the experiment:

  • Dry Ice
  • Spoon
  • Towel
  • Hammer
  • Gloves
  • Balloon
  • Ruler

How you conduct the experiment:

We’re going to be demonstrating sublimation of dry ice (CO2).  We are going to use a balloon and dry ice to demonstrate sublimation.

  • Sublimation is when a solid will turn into a gas without becoming a liquid.
  1. Place some dry ice on a towel, be sure to wear gloves when handling the dry ice. Cover the dry ice with part of the towel and break it into smaller pieces using the hammer.
  2. Insert some of the smaller pieces into the balloon using a spoon. Tie off the balloon so the gas molecules can’t escape.  As the dry ice sublimates the balloon will grow in size.  You can place the balloon by a ruler to measure the amount of growth.  The balloon will continue to grow until all the solid particles of dry ice have changed to CO2 gas molecules.  The gas molecules are free to move around in the balloon, which caused it to get larger.
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