Dry ice is one of the coolest materials around, and that’s not just a literal description. Everything about it, from how cold it is to how it disappears is fascinating. It is also wild to see how it reacts with other materials in fascinating ways. Read on for some great facts you may not know about dry ice.
What Is it?
Dry ice is solid carbon dioxide. In its gas form, carbon dioxide is an everyday part of our lives. We breathe it out when we exhale, and it is a key component of photosynthesis. We also use it to carbonate sodas and waters. It is not naturally occurring in its solid form because it takes a lot of energy to get it there, but since it is easy to make, it is a common material for cooling or freezing items.
How Cold Is It?
Dry ice will be at least -78 degrees celsius but can be as cold as -110 degrees celsius. On the Fahrenheit scale, that’s about -109 degrees to -166 degrees. For reference, wet ice freezes at 32 degrees Fahrenheit or 0 degrees celsius.
How Heavy Is It?
A 10” cubed chunk of dry ice weighs about 50 lbs. Often people get slabs instead of large chunks so that they can lay underneath food in the cooler. A 10”x10” square of dry ice that is 1 inch thick will weigh about 5 lbs, or 2” thick will weigh about 10 lbs.
How Is It Made?
Dry ice is created by turning carbon dioxide gas into a liquid, cooling it to create a “snow,” and then pressing that snow into blocks. To turn the gas to a liquid, one subjects it to very high pressure and therefore becomes colder. Once carbon dioxide is at a pressure of 60.4 psi and cooled to 69 degrees celsius, it reaches its triple point, that is, the conditions where it can exist as a solid, liquid, and gas simultaneously. At this point, those treating the carbon dioxide spray the liquid carbon dioxide so its atoms can rapidly expand. This rapid expansion supercools it and causes it to become “snow,” which can be pressed into blocks.
How Does It Melt?
Dry ice doesn’t melt; it undergoes sublimation, the process of a solid converting directly into a gas.
How Fast Will It Sublimate?
Dry ice sublimates at about 1% each hour in a typical ice chest. There is no way to stop the sublimation process, but dry ice can be safely stored in an insulated (but not airtight) container to slow it. Never store it in an airtight container, as it could explode from the gas build-up.
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.