Demonstrating Shivering Quarters in Dry Ice


Introduction: Demonstrating Shivering Quarters in Dry Ice

When a quarter in pushed into dry ice, a strange thing happens. The quarter starts to quiver. It is a normal room temperature quarter. I did nothing to the quarter. This is not a trick but really


1. Handle the dry ice with protective gloves.



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    19 Discussions

    Quarter is acting like a heatsink.  Side in contact with the ice vaporizes the ice pushing the quarter away.

    its a thermal expansion, when the quarter is cooled on the side that touches the ice, it bends pushing ti to the other side of the slot, then cooling that side, the process repeats.

    how could you torture those inocent quarters like that. EVIL! just kidding! its cool.

    1 reply

    poor quarters are cold.... but awsome. figure out how to do it with a dllar and we'll give you a cookie! great isntructable

    1 reply

    old george washington's cold thats all!

    Same effect with a spoon bouncing on dry ice, the quarter is much warmer than the ice and makes it go from solid to gas and the expanding matter pushes the quarter off the side of the side of the ice and this happens repeatedly on each side so it goes back and forth.

    DR Julius miller use to use a silver dollar.Great demo to use in classroom.Thanks

    This is So cool! Too bad i can't find dry ice around here, where do you think I can buy some? -Alex

    3 replies

    sometimes if you go to baskin robbins or other ice cream places and ask for it and tell them your doing a science project theyll give it to you free. also i think meijer has it for sale to but you have to be 18 :(

    don't know where you are but I get mine at Hy-Vee. some other grocery stores have it in the frozen food section.

    The quarter is acting like a heat sink, transmitting heat from the room to the ice, melting it, then the escaping CO2 pushing the quarter off one side of the hole to the other. Once the quarter hits the other side, it vaporizes the ice there, pushing it back. The melting ice under the quarter also pushes up. Just like a heatsink, it requires a certain amount of surface area to radiate the heat. I guess this could be called a 'coldsink', since it's used to warm the object (ice) and cool the air.

    1 reply

    i did that once only i put it in our metal sink and the whole cube was shivering and bouncing around and if their small enough theyll float

    This phenomenon can be easily reproduced with anything hard enough to not buckle under the vibrations. It is caused by the rapid release of carbon dioxide from the sublimation of the dry ice. The gas simply has no where to go, and releases itself by moving the quarter, causing the vibrations.