Sunday, August 23, 2009

Lighting a BBQ with liquid oxygen
After watching the famous liquid oxygen BBQ lighting video on the internet, I knew it was time for me to try it myself. In this video, I am pouring 1.5 liters of liquid oxygen on a bunch of smoldering charcoal briquettes. The oxygen rapidly turns to gas and accelerates the rate of combustion at the surface of the briquettes. Some of the charcoal fractures and shoots off tiny pieces that burn with a bright light.

I made the liquid oxygen by passing gaseous oxygen through a copper tube that was submerged in liquid nitrogen. The liquid nitrogen is colder than the boiling point of oxygen, so it causes the oxygen to condense and be ejected as a liquid from the other end of the tube. Liquid nitrogen can be bought at welding supply stores, however I made a batch myself with a cryocooler.

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