General Question

JackAdams's avatar

Would you please give me some Dry Ice advice?

Asked by JackAdams (6484points) September 1st, 2008

My grocer now offers customers Dry Ice, and I think I would prefer using it in drinks and in an Igloo® cooler, but I must confess that I am totally ignorant about this substance, except that it is “so cold, it can BURN you!”

So, if any of you can advise me regarding transporting it and storing it at home, I’d be most grateful.

Also, what are the advantages and disadvantages of using it in your home, as opposed to conventional ice from a refrigerator freezer?

Thanks for the help!

September 1, 2008, 5:40 PM EDT

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

10 Answers

skfinkel's avatar

I heard that dry ice can take little dents out of cars. I’ ve been trying to get my hands on some to see if that’s true.

Harp's avatar

Dry ice is used in drinks mostly for dramatic effect, as it creates a bubbly, foggy, sci-fi effect. But there is an element of danger in that swallowing a chunk of it can cause serious injury to the mouth or the upper GI tract.

Storage is difficult. Even well wrapped and in a freezer, it will dissappear within a few hours

bpeoples's avatar

The biggest thing on storage is this: Do not store dry ice in the freezer—that’s about equivalent to putting regular ice in about a 200F oven.

For longer term stage production storage (we’ll buy enough to last a week, or at least a long weekend), we store it in a 55-gallon drum, in block form. Put a couple of packing blankets on the bottom, put a styrofoam cooler in the bottom, and then cover with blankets. You get a really good insulation this way, with no “warm” freezer air blowing on it. You lose a bit over time, but not as much as in a freezer.

For smaller quantities, you could get a bigger igloo cooler, and the dry ice in a styrofoam cooler that fits inside. Pack the area between the igloo cooler and the styrofoam with towels, and you should be good to go for a while.

It’s generally not useful for household things, and super-dangerous. However, it’s good if you’re going camping for a few days, as normal ice will dissapate much quicker. It’s also good for emergency food storage if your fridge/freezer breaks…

Knotmyday's avatar

What ^he said. Dry ice is colder than -100 degrees Fahrenheit. Air blowing on it causes it to sublimate faster.

I can’t really think of any household use for it beyond Halloween punch bowls…I’d just stick with regular old ice.

JackAdams's avatar

Thanks to all of you! I really am grateful.

Would I be able to purchase a “Dry Ice compatible” freezer, that would keep things frozen to -100°F?

I’ve heard that the actual temperature of Dry Ice when it is created, is “1° Kelvin”, whatever that is.

Also, someone once told me that under certain conditions, Dry Ice can EXPLODE.

Is that true?

September 1, 2008, 6:24 PM EDT

AstroChuck's avatar

According to Steven Wright if you melt dry ice you can take a bath without getting wet.
Hope that helps.

Bri_L's avatar

@ AstroChuck – you make me AstroChuckle every damn time. Good one!

poofandmook's avatar

It will freeze whatever you put on it… my ex tried it with a can of soda… thought it would be genius since he got endless amounts of free dry ice from work. Yeah. The can exploded because it froze.

bpeoples's avatar

Dry ice generally won’t explode, but you can make “dry ice bombs” with it—http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dry_ice_bomb

You’re not likely to find a freezer that will keep the dry ice for long periods of time—even the guys who make it just keep it in insulated coolers and accept the losses. McMaster-Carr (www.mcmaster.com) used to sell an attachment for CO2 tanks that would let you make dry ice pellets directly—using the decompressing CO2 to solidify some of the CO2 like making hailstones. We never did an ROI on it to figure out if that was cheaper, but it might work for you?

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