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Anyone used Liquid Nitrogen?


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I have been told that Liquid Nitrogen creats a low level fog and I would like to know if anyone has used Liquid Nitrogen to create low level fog. If so how is it used and where can it be bought. I need to create a low level fog and as far as I know normal foggers can not do this.

Any help and suggestions most welcome.

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I investigate Liquid Nitrogen for a low smoke effect a while ago. It was a system which you had to build using valves and solenoids - the company are based on the other side of the pond - here.


The problem we had were a) the cost b) availability in the UK - I believe that Fourth Phase (at the time - now part of PRG) were the only stockists.

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Liquid Nitrogen is pretty dangerous stuff. I wouldn't bother if you're not perfectly sure what you're doing with it. I'm pretty sure it's not available in anything but stupendously large quantities (by our standards, anyway.)


I'd look at the CO2 based Lowsmoke machines instead.

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Most hire companies will stock a few dry ice machines - by far the most common is the Pea Souper, by LeMaitre. Its basically a huge kettle, but it does the job.

As for suppliers of Dry Ice, try (surprisingly) wall blasting companies. (The word escapes me for now). I got a great deal from a company who lent us a storage unit, and supplied the dry ice at less than half the cost of BOC. PM me for contact details of that company.

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A very interesting story about LN2 (you can fill in the bits in between for yourself)


A Mickey Mouse Company> A ride in a theme park> A LN2 effect> One drop of Liquid Nitrogen in the wrong place> A Punters Eyeball> An Ambulance> A VERY BIG Lawsuit and a lady with very bad depth perception.


If there are cheaper, safer and simpler ways of doing it - go down that road first!!


Still its fun stuff to play with, my favorite game is "lets se what this does when it is at -195.8 degrees C"


I get my LN2, LCo2 and Lo2 from BOC Cryospeed.

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For Liquid Nitrogen supplies I can heartily recommend CCT Pipe Freezing Ltd - 020 8680 2230.


However, as has been already said, it is dangerous stuff and needs handling and storing with great care - the risks involved and the safety precautions required are far greater that those required for dry ice. If you spill 15 liters of Liquid Nitrogen on the floor, it will catastrophically evaporate, easily filling what ever room / stage / auditorium you are in with Nitrogen gas and suffocating you.

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I would go down the route of using CO2 or a chiller both use standard smoke machines with fluid that disapates at about knee height.


I have used the Le maitre CO2 fueled machine and the effect is very good.


Its also used via DMX, unlike most dry ice machines, where you have to manualy handle the dry ice, and lower it into the water manualy. (not very safe stuff)


other option is to use a chiller, which is like a giant fridge, that conects onto the output of a high powered smoke machine, using the special fluid again.


there is also machine where you fill em with standard ice, They do work, as do the chillers but you cant get the proper effect without going down the Co2 or dry ice route.


out of all the ways possible and the safest way, I would go with


le maitre



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Not a quiet machine, and for a similar solution I have suggested it before on the BR, but try looking for an MDG Ice Fog Compack

Not a small unit, takes liquid CO2 into it to act as a refrigerant to create a very effective low smoke effect. DMX controlled, powered from a 16A single phase, and the output is rather conducive to being ducted.


Seen it used, and used it myself on two shows now. One was on an ice rink, so the smoke stayed low, and ran off the edge of the rink like a dry ice, the other was on a standard surface, and it stayed at ankle/shin height.


Quite CO2 hungry mind, around 100KG for roughly every hour of use, spread over a week. Fluid seems to last well mind, got a big reservoir inside it.


And probably not cheap.

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I've used LN2 but not Solid CO2 (dry ice). That doesn't mean I've not handled dry ice just I've not used for effects. The reason we opted for LN2 was it's cost. Dry ice was going to cost about £18 per Kg whereas LN2 was free. My latest source has just retired so at the moment I'm fog free ;)

There is a lot of stuff written about LN2 that clouds (OUCH) the reality of its use. Two most important points to remember are -

1 It's a liquid (DOH! Sorry Homer)

2 It boils at approx -196 depending on its purity.


These two facts actually add to its safety. It flows very readily and thus if you spill it it runs away very quickly. It also boils away quickly. If you spill it on yourself let it run free. It only becomes a real problem when it can't flow away freely. I managed to spill 1.5 ltrs over my leg not long ago and suffered no ill effects. I was wearing denim at the time which is not good as it acts as a sponge and tends to keep the stuff in one place. Having said that and made everyone complacent I'll mention the few ml that found its way onto my hand and boiled away almost instantly did cause a burn. If you are stupid enough to immerse your body parts into a dewar then you will find out why it's used in cryogenics. People have lost their fingers (and maybe more) doing this. It's something you'll only try once!


It is also less likely to aphixciate the musos in the pit. N2 is marginally lighter than air and forms about 70% of the atmosphere. You'd need an aweful lot of LN2 to make much difference. CO2 is noticable heavier than air and forms very little of the atmosphere.


The main reasons I'd not reconmend it are -

1 It's a liquid (again :o )! It's easier to handle a very cold solid than a very cold liquid. There are no machines I know that are designed to use LN2. This means you lot will now list hundreds of them but nevermind :o Actually didn't someone send a link to a company that makes LN2 fog machines?


2 You need a lot of it! 5 ltrs of LN2 makes 1 ltr of icecream :P Don't use a food processor! I used about 10 ltrs to generate about 20 seconds of fog, and not a great deal of fog at that. It was outside so maybe not too surprising. CO2 fog does seem to hang around more.


There are a lot of websites that offer fun with both substances but sometimes don't mention both can be very dangerous and need careful handling and respect. If anyone knows of a really cheap and convenient way of makiung low fog I'd be interested. :P




PS Spell check not working for me at the moment :o

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I've done two productions that required a low fog machine, one of which was a Dracula spoof and needed the whole smoke mist seeping around people's feet.


Peasouper is certainly the most common C02 machine out there but it's quite cumbersome and difficult to use/maintain. The biggest issue is getting the CO2. I was very lucky in this respect that I had a friend who owned a major pharmaceutical company that keeps lorry loads of the stuff for their experiments. He was willing to order in larger quantities and bring enough back for me for each performance every night. Second big problem is keeping the stuff. It will evaporate within a few days. Even when kept in a thick, purpose built, insulating container.


So.. the solution...


skip the CO2.... skip the Liquid Nitrogen.


I went to my uncle who works in a special effects company and he showed me this puppy...




It was very good. It is not as good as real C02 which I have used for bubbling liquid effects and potions but is a bloody good approximation. It uses conventional ice which in my case was easy to extract for free from the local pub in large quatities seeing as they benefit from the theatre turnout.


I've used it twice and it cost me around £28/week for the second time I used it. THe first time I hired it , I did it for a trade.


Hope this helps.




PS I may even have a video of it working somewhere. kevinmmonk@hotmail.com

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