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Dry Ice vs. Liquid Nitrogen

Dry Ice vs. Liquid Nitrogen

Dry Ice vs. Liquid Nitrogen

Dry ice and liquid nitrogen are similar yet vastly different substances with many uses today.

Dry ice is famous for its chilling effects, often used to make fog effects during Halloween. While dry ice is one of the coldest substances known to and used regularly by man, one cannot help but think of another cold substance of similar qualities: liquid nitrogen. Just like dry ice, liquid nitrogen has many uses. Even so, each has their key differences. Let’s take a look at the two.

Dry Ice

Dry ice is solid carbon dioxide. While carbon dioxide typically exists in its gaseous form in the earth, dry ice processors compress it into a solid with an incredible amount of pressure. It is about -109.3 degrees Fahrenheit, odorless, and looks like snow. It usually comes in powder, pellets, blocks, or slabs. Just like regular ice, though, it doesn’t last forever. Dry ice disappears in a process called sublimation, in which the solid carbon dioxide turns directly into a gas. 

Dry ice is useful in many ways. One common way, as mentioned, is the fog effect at parties and in theater productions. Another popular use is for storing and transporting food. Whether you’re just going fishing, or you are running a cross-country food delivery service, dry ice is the coolant you’d want for the job. Dry ice is also used to keep specimens cold in laboratories and to clean machinery in factories. Its below-freezing temperatures will kill and keep away any bacteria there. Other uses include science experiments, making ice cream and fizzy drinks, and keeping away mosquitos. 

As for cost and practicality, dry ice is easy to obtain and easy to store and transport. All you need for storage is heavy gloves for handling purposes and an insulated cooler with room for ventilation (so the escaping carbon dioxide gas has a place to go.) If the cooler is put in a car or a room, crack the windows so that carbon dioxide levels do not exceed what is normal for healthy breathing conditions.

Liquid Nitrogen

Liquid nitrogen, on the other hand, is a completely different substance, even if they seem to look and act the same. Usually a gas, liquid nitrogen exists at a cool -346 degrees Fahrenheit. Once it gets to -320.44 degrees, it turns back into a gas. 

Liquid nitrogen is often used in medical applications, like removing warts, cysts, and small cancers. It can also be used in fun experiments, including making an enormous amount of bubbles when mixed with a bubble solution, or turning normally soft things into rock-solid objects. Furthermore, it is also an easy way to make ice cream.

The cost of liquid nitrogen is similar to that of dry ice. However, because liquid nitrogen is mainly reserved for medical fields, it is more difficult to obtain. Also, to store it properly, you will need a professional insulating container called a dewar. Allow for plenty of ventilation, and handle with care.

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, Google+, Pinterest, and Twitter.


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