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Use of Liquid Nitrogen

Submitted by sat on 27 April 2016

Thank you for your excellent question.

Summary response

Yes, demonstrations using liquid nitrogen may be conducted by suitably trained science teachers and technicians who are competent in the handling of cryogenic materials.  Such use is subject to a detailed local risk assessment, and to following established procedures for the procurement, storage, use and disposal of the material. Note: It is important that schools adhere to any policies regarding the use of liquid nitrogen that may apply in their school systems.

Further details

Science ASSIST is in the process of developing a Standard Operation Procedure (SOP) for handling liquid nitrogen, which will be published on the Science ASSIST website soon.  The following information summarises the greater detail that the SOP provides.

Main hazards associated with the use of liquid nitrogen

Procurement, transport, storage and disposal

Demonstration activities with liquid nitrogen

All demonstrations should be subject to a well-documented risk assessment.

Unsuitable demonstration activities include:

There is an unacceptable risk of showering spectators with liquid nitrogen splashes or other cryogenic matter.

Suitable demonstration activities include:

Further details of these will be given in the Standard Operating Procedure: Handling Liquid Nitrogen.

References

Air Liquide Australia. 2013. Material Safety Data Sheet AL613. Nitrogen, refrigerated liquid N2. Revised edition 5, Air Liquide website, http://docs.airliquide.com.au/msdsau/AL613.pdf (1 March 2013)

University of Queensland. 2007. Liquid Nitrogen: Guidance for Safe Storage and Handling, University of Queensland website, http://sci-s03.bacs.uq.edu.au/sib/sib-news/november07/Liquidnitrogenguidance.pdf (February 2007)

‘Handling and storage of liquid nitrogen’, Monash University website, https://www.monash.edu/ohs/info-docs/safety-topics/chemical-management/h... (Broken link fixed April 2018).

University of South Australia. 2013. Safe Use of Liquid Nitrogen (and other Cryogenic Fluids), WHS Guideline, Version 1.4, http://w3.unisa.edu.au/safetyandwellbeing/SMS/guidelines/safe_use_of_liquid_nitrogen.pdf (November 2013)