In grade school, everyone learned how water turns into ice, melts, evaporates, and comes back down to earth in liquid form as rain. Sublimation is also a transition of the state of matter common in nature, but it is mysterious to many. Various chemicals go through this change and have everyday applications.
How Does Sublimation Work?
Simply put, sublimation is the transition from a solid to a gas. The matter never becomes a liquid in the process. When an object turns from a gas directly into a liquid, it is called desublimation. Water and carbon dioxide are two common chemical compounds that can sublimate and desublimate. How they can do this depends on the temperature and pressure of the present atmosphere.
Temperature is the amount of energy produced in an area. When the molecules in the air have very little movement, the air is much colder, and vice versa. Pressure, meanwhile, refers to the amount of force applied to an area, even though motion is not part of the equation. When the atmosphere measures a specific temperature and pressure, some chemicals will sublimate rather than melt.
Examples of Sublimation
Perhaps the most common example of sublimation is freezer burn. It is when ice turns directly into water vapor. A food’s exposure to warm air can rid it of its moisture and change its chemical makeup slightly, causing it to taste dry and not so good (although it is completely safe to eat.)
Another famous example is dry ice fog. Carbon dioxide will instantly turn into a gas when exposed to a normal atmosphere. It will sublimate quicker when the temperature is high and the pressure is low.
Other instances of sublimation in nature include Naphthalene, which comes in mothballs. At room temperature and pressure, this chemical sublimates into the air. Under certain conditions, arsenic and iodine will also sublimate. If the air is cold but the sun is bright, snow can sublimate slowly as well.
The Application of Dry Ice
Dry ice is perhaps the most useful and naturally sublimating substances on the market today. Its sublimative nature often appears on theatre stages as fog for foreboding scenes. Many also use it to create fog in Halloween parties, even putting pieces of dry ice in or around drinks. Sublimation can also have an erosive effect, making dry ice a popular choice for cleaning and sanitizing industrial and medical equipment.
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.