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What is dry ice?

  • Trademark for carbon dioxide in its solid form, a dense, snowlike substance that sublimes (passes directly into the vapour without melting) at -78.5° C (-109.3° F), used as a refrigerant, especially during shipping of perishable products such as meats or ice cream. In the production of Dry Ice, advantage is taken of the spontaneous cooling that occurs when compressed, liquefied carbon dioxide at -57° C (-71° F) or lower is allowed suddenly to expand to atmospheric pressure: the liquid freezes to a finely divided solid that is compacted into cakes, weighing about 20 kilograms (45 pounds). Answer from ENCYCLOPAEDIA BRITANNICA.

What is dry ice made of?

  • Dry ice is frozen carbon dioxide CO2. At normal room temperature, the dry ice turns from a solid to a gaseous form without first passing through the normal liquid stage, a process known as sublimation.

Use in freezer?

  • Only use dry ice in your freezer if it is broken, or it might cause the thermostat to shut down from the extreme temperature of the dry ice.

Does dry ice make water boil?

  • In water dry ice appears to boil, but it's not truly boiling because the water is not 212 degrees Fahrenheit. What looks like boiling is the chemical reaction of the dry ice (carbon dioxide), turning into a gas.

Is the smoke that I see carbon dioxide?

  • No, carbon dioxide is colorless. The white clouds that form are water droplets condensing on the cold carbon dioxide molecules. The condensed water vapor looks like white smoke. Dry ice does not really need to be wet with water to give off visible vapor as it will freeze water vapor in the air near it producing visible vapor all by itself. However adding water will also add substantial heat which will cause the solid CO2 to sublimate at a greatly accelerated rate thus producing much more visible vapor.

Dry ice will sublimate at the rate of 10 lbs. every 24 to 36 hours in a standard insulated container. The more dry ice you have the longer it will last. An estimate for cooling times: 10 lbs. up to 24 hours, 15 lbs. up to 48 hours, 20 lbs. up to 72 hours.

Never handle dry ice with bare hands. Always wear gloves. NEVER allow children to handle, touch, or play with dry ice!