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Local Students and NSWC Dahlgren Mentor Make STEM Connection - Demonstrate Effects of Liquid Nitrogen

By NSWC Dahlgren Division Corporate Communications | March 2, 2018

FREDERICKSBURG, Va. - Navy engineer Josh Taylor conducts a liquid nitrogen demonstration with students at the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) Summit hosted by the Fredericksburg Academy, Feb. 24. Taylor - a Naval Surface Warfare Center Dahlgren Division (NSWCDD) STEM mentor - and the students discussed the Ideal Gas Law, and how it relates different attributes of a fluid. In the picture, they are exposing the inflated balloons to liquid nitrogen and observing that the volume of air inside the balloons decreased as the temperature decreased. Taylor and the students then discussed and demonstrated how changes in temperature could be used to produce kinetic energy, and how temperature changes could affect the behavior of materials. For example, they made flowers shatter like glass, tennis balls that would not bounce, and rubber bands that cracked.


"I really enjoyed talking to students and answering their questions, not just about basic principles, but introducing concepts that one doesn't normally explore until college," said Taylor. "I think Dahlgren mentors play a crucial part at venues like this because we help students make a connection between ideas they learn in school and real work they could do one day. Personally, I've met many students who were inspired by events like this to engage the sciences and applied sciences not just as homework - but as a vocation."