In late 2020, YouTuber Nick Uhas created the largest “elephant toothpaste” explosion in history. It was a raucous experiment and made for some serious cleaning headaches. Now, Uhas says he’s taken another backyard-chemistry title: this time, for world’s largest liquid-nitrogen explosion. And, if anything, the immense explosion is good for a Keanu Reeves-level “whoa.”
Uhas recently posted what he says is the world’s largest liquid-nitrogen mega reaction to his channel. The YouTuber notes in the video’s description that he’s done this “many times before,” but wanted to up his game this time around. His goal: to create a Liquid Nitrogen Mega Cloud.
In the video, Uhas begins the experiment with a test-run in somebody else’s house: the Sway LA House. It’s a “collab house” that a TikTok talent management agency runs. To generate the test explosions, Uhas shows how he—and his teammates for the video—simply need to pour boiling water into large, plastic drums that contain liquid nitrogen.
Due to the temperature differential between the boiling water—which, off the stove, Uhas pegs at 180°F—and the liquid nitrogen—which comes in at a blisteringly frigid -312°F—the latter ingredient instantly turns the former into vapor. And, thanks to the subsequent increase in pressure in the drum, the vapor launches upward in a massive plume. (The fact the water vapor, a gas, takes up a lot more space than it does in its liquid form is what drives the increase in pressure.)
When Uhas and company bring their lab equipment outside is when the experiment develops a real wow factor, however. Uhas’ teammates perform the exact same sequence of steps, but with a significantly larger drum of liquid nitrogen and pot of boiling water. This supersizing of the experiment results in a fountain of vapor that soars approximately four stories in the air. As for the chunks in the plume, we’re not sure if that’s from soap or something else. Regardless, this mega explosion is backyard science at its coolest.