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Dry Ice

Dry ice is the solid form of carbon dioxide (CO2). It's called "dry ice" because it does not melt like wet ice. Instead, dry ice converts into carbon dioxide gas. Because dry ice is extremely cold ( -109°F/-78.5°C), non-toxic, and completely dry, it is commonly used as an expendable refrigerant to ship frozen food or medical products or to cool materials during production. The other major use of dry ice is for dry ice blast cleaning, an effective and environmentally friendly way to clean industrial equipment.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does dry ice last?

When shipped in an insulated cooler, dry ice will continue to sublimate from a solid to a gas.

How much dry ice do I need?

The quantity of dry ice needed depends on the size of your shipment and the length of time in transit.

How cold is dry ice?

Dry ice is extremely cold at -109º F (-79º C), which is 141º F below freezing. Make sure you wear gloves when handling dry ice.

What is dry ice made of?

Dry ice is pure, solid carbon dioxide (CO2). It's called dry ice because it changes from a solid to a gas and never melts into water.

How to use dry ice

Dry ice is a versatile product that has a number of commercial and consumer uses.

Dry Ice Safety

Handling

Dry ice is -109º F, which is cold enough to freeze skin cells causing an injury similar to a burn. Never allow dry ice to come in contact with skin. Always handle dry ice with protective gloves or a towel.

Ventilation

Dry ice converts to carbon dioxide gas. If left in a confined space, the carbon dioxide gas will displace oxygen and present a suffocation hazard. If dry ice has been in a confined space (e.g. a closed car or room) for more than 10 minutes, open the doors and windows before entering or you could experience difficulty breathing. Leave the area immediately if you start to breathe quickly or have any difficulty breathing.

Storage

Do not store dry ice in a container that is completely airtight. When dry ice sublimates to carbon dioxide gas, the gas pressure greatly expands. This expansion will cause an airtight container to expand and possibly explode.

Halloween Effects

Dry ice is the best way to get that creepy, spooky graveyard effect for Halloween! Use dry ice to create special effects for Halloween such as fog, spooky jack-o-lanterns, and ghostly floating bubbles!

Fog Effect

Fill a metal or plastic container 1/2 full with hot water, add a few pieces of dry ice every 5 to 10 minutes. (As water cools it will be necessary to start over with hot water to maintain the fog effect).

You can even place the container inside a pumpkin as shown in the picture here. Be careful when placing the dry ice and container inside the pumpkin and always wear gloves and eye protection when handling dry ice.

Witches Brew

Place a smaller metal or plastic container 1/2 full with hot water and a few pieces of dry ice into a larger punch bowl, then add punch to the punch bowl making sure that the dry ice does not come into contact with the punch. (Again, as the water cools it will be necessary to start over with hot water to maintain the fog effect)

As a rule of thumb, 1 pound of dry ice will create 2 to 3 minutes of fog effect. (The hotter the water the more fog, but the quicker dissipation of the dry ice)