It’s important to familiarize yourself with the relevant safety procedures before you use dry ice.
Dry ice is a condensed, solid form of carbon dioxide that is primarily used to preserve or ship food products due to its unique properties. It is preferable for shipping as it is colder than ice, thus keeping products cooler longer, and because dry ice does not melt, but dissipates through a process called sublimation. Sublimation occurs when a solid substance goes directly into a gas state. Dry ice is also used for special effects or for décor purposes because of the smoky fog effect that occurs during sublimation.
If you are using dry ice for your own cooling purposes or for visual effects then you should follow these simple safety tips to prevent harm.
Dry ice safety tips:
1) Dry ice needs to be handled with care.
Although dry ice is generally safe to use, it is possible for it to cause damage to your skin. Dry ice is extremely cold, with a surface temperature of between -78 and -110°C. Contact with exposed skin can cause frostbite.
Always wear thick protective gloves and use tongs to handle pieces of dry ice, and make sure that dry ice is out of the reach of children and animals.
2) Do not store dry ice in an airtight container.
As dry ice sublimates into carbon dioxide gas it expands, giving the gas a greater volume than the solid dry ice it came from. This means that if the dry ice is stored in an airtight container, the gas pressure builds up and may cause the container to explode.
Large quantities of dry ice are best stored in a storage bin designed for dry ice, and smaller quantities are better suited for a cooler or Styrofoam container. The insulation provided by the container will help slow down sublimation, and prolong the life of your dry ice.
3) Use dry ice in a well-ventilated area.
Since dry ice converts into carbon dioxide gas, it can pose a health hazard if left in a confined space. You should ensure that any indoor space where you are using dry ice has open doors and windows to allow oxygen to enter and carbon dioxide to escape in order to prevent any difficulty breathing.
How do you dispose of dry ice?
If you are finished using dry ice you can allow the ice to dissipate naturally. Simply place the piece of dry ice outside in a cooler or cardboard box and shortly the dry ice will sublimate completely.
Make note of these tips when you’re handing dry ice and you’ll stay safe and have fun.
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