Liquid Nitrogen vs. Liquid Oxygen: Magnetism


Frostbite Theater presents… Cold Cuts! No baloney! Just science! Hi! I’m Joanna! And I’m Steve! And this is a test tube of liquid nitrogen! And this is a test tube of liquid oxygen! Let’s see what happens when we pour the liquids past the poles of a strong magnet! Okay! Now, liquid nitrogen isn’t normally magnetic, but each of the nitrogen molecules acts like a tiny magnet when it’s exposed to a magnetic field. This effect is known as diamagnetism. That’s just a fancy way of saying that each of the nitrogen molecules is repelled by the magnet’s magnetic field. So, when I pour the liquid nitrogen past the magnet’s poles… …it doesn’t look like anything special happens. The nitrogen just falls past the magnet. That’s because the diamagnetic effect is very weak, so we don’t normally observe it. All materials are at least slightly diamagnetic, but because the effect is so tiny, we don’t normally notice it. Just like nitrogen, oxygen isn’t normally magnetic. And, just like nitrogen, each molecule of oxygen behaves like a tiny magnet when it’s exposed to a magnet’s magnetic field. Oxygen behaves differently than nitrogen, though. The way oxygen behaves is called paramagnetism. That’s a fancy way of saying that each molecule of oxygen is attracted to a magnet’s magnetic field. So, when I pour the liquid oxygen between the poles of the magnet… …it sticks! And we can even make a little bridge out of liquid oxygen that will stay there until the oxygen finally boils away. Thanks for watching! I hope you’ll join us again soon for another experiment! Let’s try that with liquid nitrogen at the same time! Okay! Ah! Hey! Ooh! More! There’s the good one!

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100 thoughts on “Liquid Nitrogen vs. Liquid Oxygen: Magnetism”

  1. Jefferson Lab says:

    I believe that fractional distillation is the preferred method.

  2. Arron Avila says:

    what happens if you pour both liquid nitrogen and liquid oxygen into one container?

  3. Jefferson Lab says:

    Depending on the relative amounts of each, you basically make liquid air. There isn't some sort of interesting reaction, if that's what you're after.

  4. TiagoTiago says:

    Is the concentration of different gases different on different parts of a magnet at room temperature?

  5. Shotgun Cheney says:

    nice vid plz educate america more

  6. Jefferson Lab says:

    The particles which make-up air are moving so quickly at room temperature that I would be surprised if there were a measurable difference near the poles of the magnet.

  7. blip blop says:

    Then evolution is working…

  8. CKOD says:

    Surprisingly enough, its doable
    the strong magnetic field attracts oxygen and floats little spheres of nitrogen enough that the force is indirectly measured by monitoring how much current it takes to hold the mirror in the same position.
    Mikeselectricstuff did a teardown watch?v=rf5tcQ1ypfw

  9. Jefferson Lab says:


  10. Jefferson Lab says:

    It changes to a gas, just like the rest of the nitrogen that's around you now.

  11. RawTwitchnPork says:

    So, Does liquid oxygen produce a fire hazard, or does the fact that it is at such a cold temperature negate that factor? I say this because i would think it would raise the oxygen level in an area around it, and fire is certainly a fan of oxygen.

    Also, thank you for reading this, and i keep being drawn in to your videos.

  12. Jefferson Lab says:

    It's quite a large fire hazard. Watch "Liquid Nitrogen vs. Liquid Oxygen: Fire!" to see this in action.

  13. Tim G says:

    So if you cooled the ball bearings to the same temperature of the liquid oxygen, could you suspend the 'bridge' indefinably between the magnets?

  14. Jefferson Lab says:

    It wouldn't be indefinitely since the air around it would still be warm, but, yes, it would last much longer if the ball bearings didn't cause the liquid oxygen to boil off.

  15. Jason Axford says:

    Hi. Why does the paramagnetism of O2 disappear when changing states? Do the molecules combine with N2 etc. and satisfy O2's need for positivity?

  16. Jefferson Lab says:

    The paramagnetism doesn't disappear when it changes states.

  17. Johnson Gibbs says:

    Can magnetism be used to separate atmospheric gas into Nitrogen and Oxygen?

  18. Jefferson Lab says:

    You can use magnets to concentrate oxygen in the area around the poles, but separating the oxygen is a bit much to ask. The particles of a gas are moving too quickly for that to be effective.

  19. Jefferson Lab says:

    No, it's condensed water. You see it here for the same reason you see your breath on a cold day. The air is being cooled to below its dew point.

  20. RawTwitchnPork says:

    I am very surprised that the fire will burn so well even in the liquid oxygen its self. I would have guessed the air around it would be a fire hazard, but not the actual liquid its self, because of the temperature.

  21. Mr Kernel says:

    This video makes me remember "Fun with Flags" with Sheldon Cooper

  22. coler154 says:

    where can one acquire such 'liquid oxygen' I might ask?

  23. Christopher Sadlowski says:

    Hooary for physics and chemistry and science! Exactly how cold does oxygen have to be to become a liquid?

  24. Jefferson Lab says:

    About 90.2 K at standard pressure.

  25. GtfoTyvm says:

    i expected an explosion from the LOX. silly me

  26. Jefferson Lab says:

    Yeah, that is pretty silly, especially if you've watched "Liquid Nitrogen vs. Liquid Oxygen: Fire"

  27. Jefferson Lab says:

    No, the LHC uses liquid helium, not liquid oxygen.

  28. Jefferson Lab says:

    Helium has a much lower boiling point.

  29. Jefferson Lab says:

    More that it remains a liquid at lower temperatures, so what's being cooled can be cooled to a lower temperature. You want the coolant to be a liquid, in part, so that you can pump it through pipes and get it to where it needs to be. Once the coolant freezes solid, it can't be pumped any longer.

  30. Jefferson Lab says:

    Oxygen doesn't burn.

  31. Jefferson Lab says:

    What cans?

  32. Jefferson Lab says:

    You mean cylinders of oxygen? They aren't flammable.

  33. Jefferson Lab says:

    Feel free. The cigarette burns. The bedding burns. Oxygen will help the fire along quite nicely, but it does not burn. Pretend, for a moment, that it did. Complete the reaction:

    O2 + O2 –> ???

  34. Jefferson Lab says:

    It's not semantics. It's a fact of chemistry. Oxygen does not burn.

  35. Jefferson Lab says:

    Of course. But, it isn't the oxygen that's burning. The oxygen isn't on fire. Remember how fire works. You need heat, fuel and oxygen. Oxygen isn't fuel. Fuel isn't oxygen. Remove one and the fire goes out.

    Watch "Liquid Nitrogen vs. Liquid Oxygen: Fire!" We put a lit match in liquid oxygen. Once the match is consumed, the fire goes out, even though there's still liquid oxygen. Why does the fire stop? Because O2 + O2 doesn't make anything.

  36. Ben Evans says:

    Can you at least not smile in one video?
    it scares me
    Btw, You get a subscribe

  37. angel caruuth says:

    I wanna say that is pretty cool but lay off the clown stuff please it's weird not scary that's all…………..

  38. Hunter Czech says:

    because we have little social skills, i know the feels

  39. GtfoTyvm says:

    i just thought to would explode because of its highly explosive nature to oils and other particles. dangerous stuff if not handled carefully

  40. cholrus69 says:

    because they're awkward in general.

  41. Plebber says:

    Yea finally i can drive on a bridge of liquid oxygen to australia!

  42. مسعد الشعب says:

    I don't think this is diamagnetism. This is paramagnetism since the tiny atomic magnets got aligned according to the external magnetic field. Right?

  43. Jefferson Lab says:

    It is stated in the video that liquid oxygen is paramagnetic.

  44. Ello Cupid says:

    This is one Experiment where being COOL is an Understatement (^_^)b

  45. Jefferson Lab says:

    The nitrogen falls through and the oxygen sticks to the magnet.

  46. KFchannel34 says:

    "Hello. I’m Dr. Sheldon Cooper, and welcome to the premiere episode of Sheldon Cooper Presents Fun with Flags. "

  47. neeedleinahaystack says:

    awkward or not. thats a cute scientist.

  48. diesel54x says:

    Hi I'm sheldon Cooper, this is fun with flags.

  49. tyler mayeaux says:

    What would happen?

  50. YoBlrr says:

    You would die…horribly…

  51. Tom Bossert says:

    Do you even brain?

  52. Ciber says:

    I don't like how scripted this is. I wish you guys were just freely talking.

  53. Kishore Chandra Mishra says:

     It is very good .It explains the behaviour of the two liquids

  54. K3NatCSS says:

    I'm not normally magnetic, but when I am, I'm in a liquid state.

  55. Indra Ida Bagus says:

    Why don't burn the liquid oxygen when it stick?

  56. Randy says:

    Oxygen is seriously cool.

  57. Bakulesh Rane says:


  58. Guido Zaragoza says:

    Is that Liquid Nitrogen "bridge" conductor of electricity?

  59. John Grund says:

    What happens if you introduce an electric current? I'm also curious about what happens if you froze the poles using the liquid nitrogen, and then tried to form the bridge with the oxygen, would it last longer?

  60. PK Requinoks says:


  61. abi healey says:

    that is some crazy stuff!

  62. Brad Flick says:

    What if you drank liquid oxygen? Would it feel like a you're breathing in air, or is it too cold?

  63. Daniel Cona says:

    Here is my attempt at being smat… the way the atoms reacted was super no way i would think it would have a menetic pull on the liquid pure oxagen hahaha o i am so bad at the XD

  64. Moby K says:

    Can the attraction between the magnets occur with liquid Boron (B2) since it is also paramagnetic like liquid Oxygen.

  65. J. Boyle says:

    Is the O bonding with H and the partial charges causing it to attract to the mag field?

  66. MMMEEE60 says:

    so when the oxygen boils to a gas the effect goes away? If you had a stronger magnet would this effect still be there?

  67. foxnebula145 says:

    COOL, i mean cool literally
    1:58 looks like end of a kiss

  68. Buk Lau says:

    How does it boil if it's cold

  69. Narin Pornwatcharakul says:

    ใช้เหล็กทดสอบ  oxygen ต้องผสมเหล็ก ป้อนสนามแม่เหล็ก

  70. Emma Dewitt says:

    Now try it with liquid Hydrogen

  71. Bruno Iniesta says:

    What would happen if the oxygen used is 'antioxygen'? (Regardless if the antimatter with matter collapse releasing energy)… Is the magnetic field of the antimatter inverted?

  72. David Battle says:

    Would have been nice if you had the white shirt behind the liquid oxygen instead of the blue shirt, so that we could see the blue color of the liquid oxygen.

  73. ND3 Jaeger says:

    Wait, so if oxygen attractive, wouldn't that mean it would be possible to pull is in it's other forms as well?

  74. Computers & Cars says:

    If you combined liquid oxygen and liquid nitrogen what would happen?

  75. Sam Mustafa says:

    thanks jeff u just Gave me an idea for a new fuel

  76. Talavera jr says:

    What would happen if you mixed them?

  77. Hello Hi says:

    If you just put liquid hydrogen into liquid nitrogen would it simply create ice?

  78. cassie rackley says:

    My mind is just completely blown….

  79. Luke Horsfall says:

    Isn't liquid oxygen highly combustible

  80. Satyam Pandey says:

    What is the minimum magnetic field intensity required to obtain this phenomenon….and why is it that oxygen exhibits this property only in liquid state (other than kinetic energy of the molecules in gases is high and so is velocity )..??

  81. Marcus Mravik says:

    can you light liquid nitrogen and oxygen and if so would it turn into water vapor or freeze?

  82. Macaroni-kun says:

    Wait what liquid oxygen??!?!???? (I am in 5th grade don't expect me to know much

  83. Jenn Pe says:

    why yall smile so much

  84. Another Neko says:

    What's with the video quality!?!?!?

  85. Ajai Prakash Singh says:

    if two magnets of opposite poles are suspended and then liquid oxygen is poured between them then what will happen?

  86. Nazwa :P says:

    Grettings from Poland 😀

  87. Purple Perplexing Pineapples says:

    Where do you get liquid nitrogen?

  88. ExodiaStudios says:

    How many Teslas are the magnets that you are using?

  89. Muzik Bike says:

    I've been wondering, are the fumes coming off of the oxygen gaseous oxygen, or water vapour condensed by it into liquid water?

  90. tryithere says:

    Nature crazy.

  91. aesopsystems says:

    How strong is the pull on the liquid oxygen? Equal to that of the magnets?

    Does this work on electromagnetic fields??

  92. Casimir III says:

    which is colder liquid oxygen or liquid nitrogen?

  93. KHgoalkeeper21 says:

    datbootcamp brought me here…

  94. Bob says:

    Is oxygen magnetic in a dence gas form?
    Could it be used to map magnetic fields ?

    does nitrogen and oxygen bond ?

  95. hongry life says:

    Looks like an hourglass, but turned 90 degrees.

  96. booger king says:

    What if i fill a co2 canister (like those used in airsoft) with liquid oxygen then seal it. Will it remain liquid or will it expand and explode?

  97. Kami Sama says:

    which one is more colder?

  98. Stefan Johansson says:

    Wow cool

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