Hand vs. Liquid Nitrogen and the Leidenfrost Effect

By Brian Lemay 100 comments

Greetings fellow nerds. In this video I’m going to put liquid nitrogen on my hand. I’m not crazy. To show you why I’m not crazy I’m going to first show something called the Leidenfrost effect. I have here a standard laboratory heater plate and I’m going to put some water on it and turn on the heat. As expected, it’s going to boil. As it heats up it will boil water faster and faster. Eventually it gets so hot that water instantly vaporizes upon hitting the plate. Now when it gets really hot, an interesting effect takes over. Water now just beads up and rolls off the plate. What’s happening is that on contact the water vaporizes so fast that it creates a cushion of steam that lifts up the remaining water drop. So the water is now riding around on a cushion of it’s own steam. This makes the water last longer and slows down the heat conduction needed to completely vaporize it. This is called the Leidenfrost effect. This effect can be seen at home with a frying pan if you heat it high enough. The Leidenfrost effect also occurs with liquid nitrogen. As you can see here the liquid nitrogen skirts away as I pour it on the floor without actually soaking into the floor. Liquid nitrogen boils at -196 Celsius. And this laboratory floor is at room temperature. So from the liquid nitrogen’s perspective the floor is super hot. Here are some drops of liquid nitrogen rolling around on the floor just like the water on the hot plate. As you can see they’re not soaking in. The Leidenfrost effect protects the liquid nitrogen from being instantly vaporized, and consequently the floor from being instantly frozen. Now the Leidenfrost effect does not last forever. With enough liquid nitrogen the floor is eventually cooled enough that the temperature difference no longer supports the effect and the liquid nitrogen soaks in. So if I do put it on my hand I can only do so for a moment. Nonetheless, the Leidenfrost effect will protect my hand from being instantly frozen. Alright, so let’s try it. Let me fill this Dewar with liquid nitrogen. Now if you look very closely, the Leidenfrost effect is happening here too as the liquid nitrogen is not yet contacting the sides of the Dewar but a gas barrier is insulating it. However the effect will break down eventually. Human tissue is much less tolerant of cold than the floor or this steel Dewar so i won’t be able to put my hand in there for longer than a moment. Alright, the nitrogen is ready. I’m really nervous here, give me a moment to psyche myself up. Whoa, my hand is ice cold right now. But as you can see the nitrogen did not soak in, and it’s completely fine with no frostbite or other injuries. The plume of mist from the liquid nitrogen shows that a lot of it vaporized to form the gas barrier around my hand. Turning around the experiment. I can also pour liquid nitrogen on my hand in short spills as long as i give my hand a few moments to recover. This is pretty cold but the Leidenfrost effect prevents the liquid nitrogen from directly contacting my hand and freezing it. As long as my hand is warm enough, I can keep doing this. Although it’s starting to sting right now. Thanks for watching, please subscribe, rate and comment.



Jun 6, 2017, 3:06 am Reply

Not i am your father no its I KSHHHH AM KSHHHH AN EXPERT KSHHHHHHH

Wako Griffin

Jun 6, 2017, 4:30 am Reply


Drew Dickens

Jun 6, 2017, 1:21 am Reply

its how liquids survive

Jed Maegraith

Jul 7, 2017, 2:20 pm Reply

is this how you fueld a Starfighter , Darth Vader??


Jul 7, 2017, 8:04 pm Reply

Thank you Kylo Ren for this amazing science.

onyx instinct

Jul 7, 2017, 11:29 pm Reply

I wanna play a game..

Music of game

Aug 8, 2017, 5:10 pm Reply

Maouno ?

Isadac Souza

Aug 8, 2017, 8:41 pm Reply

Sureeeeee sureee ur an expert if u were an expert you shouldin't be doing that


Aug 8, 2017, 2:23 am Reply

Saw this on insta xD

Banana Flavoured Potato

Aug 8, 2017, 7:11 pm Reply

Hello people!

JimJam Mochi

Aug 8, 2017, 4:43 pm Reply

Hai Future People From The Future

Mr. Ted

Sep 9, 2017, 1:03 am Reply

Fucking wimp ☹️

I came to see a hand freeze

Abdelrahman Berri

Sep 9, 2017, 1:11 pm Reply



Sep 9, 2017, 6:10 pm Reply

He stuck his hand in there a lot long than I expected. I wonder how many seconds to completely freeze a finger off.


Sep 9, 2017, 4:26 am Reply

Don't try this at home kids!! Well there's always school


Oct 10, 2017, 11:05 am Reply

Who watches this on 2017? Like if you are

Endacil Vardamir

Oct 10, 2017, 9:49 pm Reply

I do it everyday.


Nov 11, 2017, 10:47 pm Reply

Aww hell yeah demonstrate d my self with liquid propane the result was burning on my arm

Ace The FireDragon

Nov 11, 2017, 12:45 pm Reply

Don't worry guys, I'm an expert. Hears explosion in the background

Philly UR

Nov 11, 2017, 12:39 am Reply

Don't try this at home I am expert

Ward Collier

Nov 11, 2017, 9:52 am Reply

Kylo Ren vs science


Nov 11, 2017, 2:40 pm Reply

that thumbnail is now my desktop background

thanks a lot 8)

Captain Virtu

Dec 12, 2017, 3:53 am Reply

This is a different kind of retarded


Dec 12, 2017, 8:43 pm Reply

You can also put your pinger in molten iron, at thousands of degrees. The Leidenfrost effect works there as well

malek shut up!

Dec 12, 2017, 10:45 pm Reply

Is that Bane?


Dec 12, 2017, 2:42 am Reply

Didn't know kylo ren had a Youtube account

CarPortMan 12

Dec 12, 2017, 6:21 am Reply

Do not try this at home:


Ty Langs

Dec 12, 2017, 2:10 am Reply

Sees message to not try this at home*
Proceeds to buy Liquid Nitrogen and try at home*
Fails and freezes hand from the Liquid Nitrogen.*

Vineet Honkan

Dec 12, 2017, 4:52 pm Reply

goddammit Nurdrage you fucked up GoldenEye for me! It's now ruined forever! lol

Alex Sonnenberg

Dec 12, 2017, 10:18 pm Reply

Kylo Ren?


Dec 12, 2017, 8:34 pm Reply

Sounding like Darkseid

Petitio Principii

Dec 12, 2017, 5:21 am Reply

This is one of the scariest things I've seen in my life.
While I watch, an irrational part of my brain is constantly frightened in alert that at some point it would be like, "see, this is how it works, it's okay because I remove my hand fast eno– fuck! It got stuck! NAAAAAAH AARGH!! Ohmygod! Ohmygod!!! HEELP, somebody call an ambulance, HEEELP…. ARGH it hurts!!! HURTS SO MUCH, my hand…. SOMEBODY HEEELP!!!"
It's obvious that the video title wouldn't be that if it happened in the video, by this irrationally fearful part of my brain doesn't get that.

Anti Venom

Jan 1, 2018, 6:12 am Reply

"I'm An Expert"

Amanda Webster

Jan 1, 2018, 3:36 am Reply

Would the same thing happen if you were to stir the nitrogen before dipping your hand in? Is there anyway for the effect not to work? Like any outside factors that prevents it?


Jan 1, 2018, 1:18 pm Reply

you forgot to hit it with a hammer

Draw You Mad

Jan 1, 2018, 7:26 pm Reply

Why don’t people realize that liquid nitrogen is used in medical processes, and yes it’s used to make skin blister but who cares


Jan 1, 2018, 8:10 pm Reply

Next up dick vs snake


Jan 1, 2018, 6:07 pm Reply

Dick vs liquid nitrogen?

Rob Harv

Jan 1, 2018, 7:49 pm Reply

You know putting dry ice in water doesn't turn it into liquid Nitrogen.

Harie Amjari

Jan 1, 2018, 1:12 pm Reply

NurdRage or Nile Red?


Jan 1, 2018, 2:25 pm Reply

Saw video, immediately thought, "Leidenfrost effect"

Richard Longmore

Jan 1, 2018, 6:53 pm Reply

I'm defenatly going to try this. Mabe a couple of beers first just to steady the nerves

piller tas666

Feb 2, 2018, 6:47 am Reply

Why does this guy sound like Kylo ren


Feb 2, 2018, 10:49 am Reply

Hmmm, Brave you are Cold Hand Luke, N 2 the Dark Side come you must.

Cash Dynamo

Feb 2, 2018, 12:37 am Reply

Two words, Jason. X.

Jbpadawan66 Gaming

Feb 2, 2018, 5:12 pm Reply

Kylo Ren Does Science

Titanic Rainbow

Mar 3, 2018, 4:53 am Reply

i think its a robot 0.0/

نور البصراوي

Mar 3, 2018, 3:48 pm Reply

Are you crazy

Manga max

Apr 4, 2018, 9:14 pm Reply

You sound like a comic book villain.

Shut Up Joseph

Apr 4, 2018, 3:26 pm Reply

He sounds more like kylo ren

Michael Merritt

May 5, 2018, 7:38 am Reply

I've seen this: in an recrystallization procedure during my organic chemistry lab, when I brought ethanol into a pipet some accidentally came out onto the hot plate. But instead of vaporizing it seemed to immediately bead up and run off the hot plate.

Sameer khan

May 5, 2018, 2:12 pm Reply

feak hai


Jun 6, 2018, 12:54 am Reply

LA Beast

Mari o.

Jun 6, 2018, 10:07 pm Reply


Tony 1Reach1

Jun 6, 2018, 7:45 pm Reply

I didn't know Bane wore pink nail varnish

The Golden Giraffe

Jun 6, 2018, 9:47 pm Reply

this is risky..


Jul 7, 2018, 5:47 am Reply

“Greetings fellow nerds”😂💀

Baby Goose

Jul 7, 2018, 11:38 pm Reply

Why do I feel like I’m being held for ransom?

Bog i Hrvati

Jul 7, 2018, 9:38 pm Reply

Im an Expert puts hand in liquid dies instantly

Carlow Love

Aug 8, 2018, 10:24 pm Reply

Wow that's cool I thought something was about to happened

Zainab Harake

Aug 8, 2018, 2:29 pm Reply



Aug 8, 2018, 9:21 am Reply

I will buy all the liquid nitrogen I can buy and pour it all over myself! After watching this video I too am an expert now!

alireza hudson

Aug 8, 2018, 7:07 pm Reply


Parthib Banerjee

Aug 8, 2018, 2:34 pm Reply

Gola clear korun

Ben Pitcher

Aug 8, 2018, 11:04 pm Reply

"I am a expert and I will put liquid nitrogen on my hand"


Sep 9, 2018, 4:26 pm Reply


Mike Rich

Sep 9, 2018, 2:36 pm Reply

It’s quite dangerous. Liquid nitrogen can absorb all heat energy from your hands if you leave contained long enough.

Dev Sangha

Sep 9, 2018, 5:31 pm Reply

Guy sounds like kylo ren!

Rising Shadows

Sep 9, 2018, 10:33 am Reply

I love this. I love that he doesn't go into a long winded introduction and explanation before starting. He just shows you and explains as he goes, instantly my favorite science channel on YouTube

Control Pace

Oct 10, 2018, 6:02 am Reply

You've have teached me well Master,

Bluejay Memelord

Oct 10, 2018, 10:53 pm Reply


runningaway ____from home

Oct 10, 2018, 1:11 am Reply

Jesus christ

Mobil conan Telefon

Oct 10, 2018, 10:57 am Reply

Leidenfrost Effect is spoken "La (like a in are) edanfrost Effect. Use international pronunciation!

James gs

Nov 11, 2018, 4:31 pm Reply

All I wanted him to say is ”Candy Cane…are you there candy cane”?

Valentin Constantinescu

Nov 11, 2018, 7:45 pm Reply

If You do this and You are right handed use your right hand for better youtube content. Next time you do this You will do IT wrong because you were right handed.

Wellington S Firebrand

Nov 11, 2018, 8:13 pm Reply

I tried this at home. Now they call me Hook…

nicole pilmer

Nov 11, 2018, 12:16 pm Reply

dude… your crazy… how did your hand not like…… WHA IM SO CONFUSED


Nov 11, 2018, 3:38 am Reply

This mad lad


Nov 11, 2018, 10:02 pm Reply

Are you a scp recorder staff or something xD

Marcelo Picoli

Dec 12, 2018, 6:20 pm Reply

I would never call a video with almost 6.4M views (and counting) as "obsolete"!

Maddie Grace

Dec 12, 2018, 3:08 am Reply

I didn’t know Darth Vader was a science guru

Bents Huang

Jan 1, 2019, 5:57 am Reply

How about freeze your hand and pour some boiling hot water on it ?


Jan 1, 2019, 4:57 pm Reply

stick ur dick in there

Leonard Nicholas

Jan 1, 2019, 10:28 am Reply

Thanks for introducing the Leidenfrost effect before doing the experiment.

Tim Gokie

Feb 2, 2019, 1:51 am Reply

i will do this because a guy told me to and also said "i am an expert"

ثامر الشهري

Feb 2, 2019, 8:21 pm Reply

ما في سعودي سعودي حط لايك

Rächer Doof

Feb 2, 2019, 3:24 am Reply

You are CRAZY !


Feb 2, 2019, 11:14 am Reply

It is actually more dangerous to wear low quality gloves while working with LN, because it can soak in and burn you…

Sam Isam

Mar 3, 2019, 2:13 pm Reply


Stephen Plur

Apr 4, 2019, 12:33 am Reply

In my high school our chemistry teacher gave us all cups full of liquid nitrogen one time and told us we could splash them at each other

Malik Crawford

Apr 4, 2019, 8:02 pm Reply


Londinium Armoury

Apr 4, 2019, 10:31 am Reply

Nice demo.

Xavi Chuvy

May 5, 2019, 10:28 pm Reply

Now do it with molten lead.

Sam Overall

May 5, 2019, 2:31 pm Reply

When it gets wee wee hot

nahgam brdwil

May 5, 2019, 9:43 am Reply



Jul 7, 2019, 7:11 pm Reply

Reported for misleading title. Idiot.

روان روان

Aug 8, 2019, 6:49 am Reply

هذا مينون

Afro Fluff

Sep 9, 2019, 8:13 am Reply

Thanks, Darth Vader

danny brathly

Sep 9, 2019, 4:45 pm Reply

This so cool

Andrea Riba

Sep 9, 2019, 10:59 am Reply

If u were a true man u would have left the hand for at least 5 minutes. Like if u agree

Leave a Reply