Dry Ice Temperature

The temperature of dry ice is extremely low, which is why you must handle it with care. Here's everything that you need to know about dry ice and its temperature.
Let's start with the basics. What is dry ice? Dry ice is simply frozen or solid carbon dioxide that is used mainly for the purpose of refrigeration. Dry ice has also been used to create special-effects or the white fog that you see during stage performances. The properties of dry ice have now been used to make smoke machines and use them as a simpler alternative. Dry ice is also used for a variety of physics experiments.

To manufacture dry ice, carbon dioxide gas is compressed to an extremely high pressure. It is however, released as liquid carbon dioxide, but the high pressure immediately converts dry ice to gas. This process is known as sublimation. Further, because dry ice is simply frozen carbon dioxide, its temperature is extremely low. Here, we will discuss the temperature of dry ice, its cost, how to make it, and where to buy it.

Temperature of Dry Ice

The temperature of dry ice is at a freezing point, at -109.3 °F or -78.5 °C. Because of its properties to convert easily into a gas without creating a mess like water that results from melted ice, dry ice is used mainly for the purposes of refrigeration. It is a great alternative to regular ice, and is perfect to maintain frozen foods in groceries and other stores. There are other industrial uses of dry ice too. However, because of its high pressure and extremely low temperatures, using dry ice requires a lot of safety measures, and some places will not permit those under 18 to even purchase dry ice. There are also ways in which you can make dry ice at home, but again, ensure that you follow the safety measures mentioned later in the article, while handling dry ice.

Safety Measures While Using Dry Ice

Do take the following safety measures while handling dry ice. Children are usually taught different dry ice experiments in school. Keep in mind however, that under any circumstances, children should not handle dry ice without adult supervision.
  • Dry ice converts to carbon dioxide gas when it melts. Because carbon dioxide is heavier than air, it is likely to settle in the surroundings. When working with dry ice in a poorly ventilated area, it may cause suffocation. It is therefore, essential to work in a well ventilated room when handling dry ice.
  • Wearing a nasal mask and protective goggles is also advisable.
  • Further, the temperature is so low that handling it without any protection can cause severe frost burns. Ensure that you wear well insulated hand gloves when handling it.
  • Avoid storing dry ice in a sealed container. Dry ice is a pressurized material, and when sealed, it will continue to build heavy pressure. If this pressure is not released, it is likely that the container will explode and may cause severe harm to those in the vicinity.
Where to Buy Dry Ice

Because it seems so fancy and unattainable, a lot of people don't know where to buy dry ice. Dry ice can easily be purchased at grocery stores, or at butcher shops and ice cream parlors that use it to maintain their products. You may also purchase dry ice directly from the manufacturers of this product. As mentioned earlier, because handling dry ice inappropriately can be dangerous, you may need to be above 18 to purchase it. Ensure you are carrying an age proof when you set out to buy dry ice. The cost of dry ice ranges around US $1 per pound of the product. Some places will offer you a discount based on the amount you purchase.

As entertaining it may seem, dry ice can also be very dangerous if not handled appropriately. Do take care while using it for any purpose.
By Puja Lalwani
Published: 11/20/2010
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