Dry ice is actually solid carbon dioxide. This term was coined by Long Island based Prest Air Devices in the year 1925. It is organically a trademarked item, dry ice is more of a way to refer carbon dioxide in its solid or frozen state.
It is composed by freezing the carbon dioxide by compression the gas to a higher pressure to create dry ice. When it is released as liquid carbon dioxide, it tends to expand and evaporate quickly. It also cools some of the carbon dioxide down to the freezing point so that it becomes solid snow. This solid can be compressed into pellets, blocks and many other forms. Such dry ice also forms on the nozzle of a fire extinguisher when used.
Characteristics of Dry Ice
Under the usual atmospheric pressure, the dry ice undergoes the sublimation, which transitions directly from the solid to gaseous form. Usually, at a room temperature and normal pressure, it sublimates at a rate of 5 to 10 pounds every day. As the temperature of the dry ice is quite low, it is used for refrigeration. Packing frozen food in dry ice lets it to stay frozen with zero mess that would also be indulged with other cooling methods like water from the melted ice.
Uses of Dry Ice
- Cooling materials such as food, biological samples, perishable items, computer components, etc.
- Dry ice fog to create special effects in order to create ice and fog.
- Cloud seeding to raise the precipitation from clouds or to decline the cloud thickness
- Tiny pellets to “shoot” at surfaces to clean them
- Various other industrial uses
- Do not taste, eat or swallow dry ice. It can damage your body.
- Wear heavy and insulated gloves when handling it as it can give you frostbite.
- Don’t store it in a sealed container, as it is prone to sublimation, it will cause pressure to build up. If reached to the maximum point, it can explode.
- Use it in the ventilated space only. In a poorly ventilated area, the accumulation of carbon dioxide can cause asphyxiation.
- Carbon dioxide is denser than the air. It sinks to the floor. And you should always keep the space ventilated when handling this.
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