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How to Use Dry Ice in Theatre

How to Use Dry Ice in Theatre

How to Use Dry Ice in Theatre

Use dry ice in this year’s theatre production for your play’s mysterious scenes.

Past the new year, the season for theater productions is coming soon. A theatre is a place where one can delve into another world. A play or musical’s setting can take place anywhere in the world, and at any time in history. Some of these settings famously require the presence of fog for a mysterious or foreboding scene. Dry ice is one of the best ways to make this happen.

The Science of Dry Ice Fog

Dry ice, which is the solid form of carbon dioxide, is a common way that theatre productions create low-lying fog. (If there is a scene involving a scientist, dry ice can apply to beakers of colored water.) 

Solid carbon dioxide is very cold. When paired with water, a fog emerges. Although one may think that the water causes the dry ice to warm up and emit carbon dioxide fumes, the opposite is happening. Cold substances always suck heat out from an object, rather than the other way around. Putting dry ice pieces into water causes the water to vigorously cool and evaporate, making the vapor that you see. 

Meanwhile, the dry ice is also disappearing. Instead of melting, dry ice sublimates, turning directly from a solid to a gas. While the water rapidly cools, the dry ice is also dissipating into the air along with the water vapor. When one combines hot water with dry ice, the effect is even more dramatic.

Dry Ice in Theatre

If you want to put on a low-budget but effective show, a simple solution is to have someone off-stage tilt a bowl of warm water and dry ice toward the stage on cue. One could also add a fan behind it to blow the fog. Dry ice is excellent for short-term effects, but depending on how long the scene lasts, one can continuously add more dry ice and more hot water to keep the fog going. If you prefer something more upscale, you can purchase a fog machine that uses these two simple substances. 

Dry Ice Safety Precautions

Carbon dioxide is a natural part of the air we breathe (and what we breathe out), but when we inhale a high concentration of it, the results can be deadly. A theatre should have sufficient ventilation, so suffocation should not be an issue. However, do not lie down in the fog, as one can become unconscious. Do not touch dry ice with bare skin; use protective gloves or tongs to avoid burns. Because dry ice sublimates, you will not have to worry about clean-up or disposal after the show.

Dry Ice For All Your Needs

Dry Ice Corp is the largest regional supplier of dry ice and related products in the Northeastern United States. Our dry ice is fresh and delivered right to your doorstep. We are happy to help you determine the best way to ship your goods, whether you have a huge amount of cookies or a single pie, and help you select the perfect amount of dry ice for the job. Give us a call at (201) 767-3200 or contact us online for a quote. To connect with us online, be sure to follow us on Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter.


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