Dry ice is a fascinating object, mysterious, elusive, and seemingly oxymoronic. The source of foggy Halloween settings, fog in theatre productions, cleaning for industrial and medical facilities, amazement in science experiments, and so much more, dry ice undoubtedly raises much curiosity. What happens if you touch dry ice? Let’s find out what would happen.
The Property of Dry Ice
Dry ice is the solid form of carbon dioxide. Like water, which is dihydrogen monoxide (not hydrogen dioxide; it doesn’t exist,) carbon dioxide in its solid form is frozen cold. Manufacturers produce it as a snow-like substance, pellets, slabs, and blocks. Dry ice, however, does not melt and evaporate as water ice does. Frozen carbon dioxide sublimates directly into the air, transforming from a solid into a gas. Carbon dioxide exists naturally in the earth’s atmosphere, so the gas blends in perfectly with the rest of the elements in the air. Just make sure your area is well-ventilated so that the carbon dioxide does not build up in the space.
The Effect of Dry Ice
Now, because dry ice is a frozen substance, resting at about -109.3 degrees Fahrenheit (remember the negative sign,) it is far too cold for the human touch to endure. Like a very hot object, like a stovetop, dry ice has the same effect on skin and can cause a burn. If you touch dry ice momentarily without protective gear, it can cause redness to the affected skin. If you hold dry ice in your hand for a longer time, you can get frostbite. Never ingest dry ice, as doing so can produce severe or deadly burns to your mouth, throat, and esophagus.
What To Do If You Did Touch Dry Ice
Handling dry ice is no more dangerous than cooking a meal. If you are handling a hot pan handle or taking a baking dish out of the oven, you’ll want to use oven mitts or a potholder. In the same way, if you’re handling dry ice, you’ll want to use protective gloves.
In the case that you accidentally do touch dry ice without protection, though, the treatment depends on how bad the burn is. A common treatment is to soak the wounded area in lukewarm water. Do not use hot water, as this can aggravate the burn more. You may then want to apply ointments such as aloe vera to soothe the skin and bandage the wound. If you get frostbite, or the skin seems waxy and sallow, seek medical attention immediately. Should you get injured, your skin can heal within a matter of weeks.
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.