Weird Science: Vanilla Ice Cream

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow)- It is always fun when we spread smiles and science, and Dr. V and Taizo Braden went down to share it all with the great kids at Shriners Hospital. Check out the video!

Dr. V Show: Dry Ice Ice Cream Recipe

Things you will need

  • Dry ice
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 2 cups half-and-half
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon of salt
  • Large mixing bowl
  • Mixing spoon
  • Hammer or rolling pin
  • Paper bag

The Experiment:

Please do this and all other experiments with the help of an adult. Dry ice is solid at -70°F and will give you frostbite if you touch it. Please use gloves when handling dry ice. Place dry ice in a paper bag and crush it into very small pieces using the hammer or rolling pin. Place all of the other ingredients in a mixing bowl and stir them together. Slowly add the crushed dry ice, making sure to keep stirring while you add the ice. Be careful not to add too much dry ice at one time because your mixture may forth up out of the bowl.  Do you see your ice cream forming? As you add more dry ice the ice cream should thicken. Keep adding dry ice until your ice cream is at the desired consistency. You can add candy or one cup of chocolate syrup for flavoring. Please be VERY CAREFUL when eating the ice cream. Make sure there are no pieces of dry ice left to avoid frostbite. You can freeze the leftover ice cream to eat later.

How does it work?

Dry ice is the solid form of carbon dioxide. It has a special physical property; it sublimates, or turns directly from a solid to a gas without ever becoming a liquid. The gas form of carbon dioxide is transformed into a solid form through a process of compression. The carbon dioxide is compressed until there is about 870 pounds per square inch of pressure at room temperature. This pressure causes the gas to liquefy. When the pressure is released some of the liquid will become gas, this gas in turn cools the remaining liquid and creates dry ice.  This solid form of carbon dioxide is called dry ice because the solid gas doesn't melt into a liquid. Instead the dry ice goes directly from its solid form into gas. It is because of this unique feature of dry ice that you are able to freeze the ice cream ingredients quickly and instead of getting a watery mess, we get delicious ice cream.