Dry Ice: More Than a Halloween Staple

For those who love a bubbling, smoking cauldron or a rolling fog to help decorate their doorstep every October 31st, there are thousands of other uses for what fires that Halloween mood in today’s world. That little bit of magic and eeriness that causes that distinct look and feel is what is known as dry ice.

Dry ice is the solid form of carbon dioxide gas. At a temperature of -109.2F (-78.5C), carbon dioxide will sublimate (make the transition from gas to solid) at Earth’s atmospheric pressure. It is colorless, odorless, and is a non-flammable material. However, dry ice is realized at an extremely cold temperature, so it must be handled with the proper protection equipment to avoid frostbite.

Dry ice has many practical applications in today’s consumer, business, medical, and industrial worlds which can greatly aid in getting the jobs done that you face every day.

Consumer Use of Dry Ice

Dry ice can be used in a number of ways in the home, far beyond feeding that fog machine that you use at Halloween. It can be used in spot repair projects to remove floor tile as it helps it release it from its bonding agent. Dry ice can also be used to bait mosquitos away from your outdoor event; they are attracted to CO2, so if you keep some pieces out away from your party, they will be drawn away from you and to the gas relased from the blocks. When transporting plants for an event, dry ice can help you keep the flowers cold as long as you can maintain a temperature of 34F. As long as the dry ice does not touch the flowers and keeps the air cool, they will arrive without wilting. It also can be used on small dents on a vehicle fender, as the application of the dry ice on smaller shallow dents and dings can cause the metal to rebound back into the original shape.

Business Use of Dry Ice

Dry ice is found in use in today’s commercial kitchens, supermarkets, and restaurants. It is used to remove mold, mildew and bacteria from surfaces that come in contact with various food items. In order to maintain a strict standard of cleanliness and meeting and exceeding regulations, dry ice is an invaluable tool in helping to prevent the transfer of foodborne diseases as well as transfer of food elements that can cause allergic reactions. It is also used to store food safely in these environments for long periods of time.

For those food producers and restaurants that have fan bases far and wide, dry ice is used to keep food items cold while on their way to their customers. Various forms of dry ice (blocks, slabs, pellets, chips, etc.) can be utilized for the size and shape of the packaging you need to ship.

Medical Use of Dry Ice

A critical use of dry ice in the medical world comes into wide us in the transport of medical supplies, samples, and even human organs for much needed transplants. Dry ice use in this way avoids any water residue that would be left over by traditional ice, which could cause contamination of the items and possible build-up of harmful bacteria.

In dermatology, dry ice is a product of choice when applied in surgeries to remove skin imperfections such as moles, warts, and other types of growths. It has been used as a good alternative to liquid nitrogen for these types of minor surgeries. Dry ice is also enjoys applications in specialized freezers in the medical world is widely used to keep samples cold in case of an power outage in a medical facilty.

Industrial Use of Dry Ice 

In manufacturing, dry ice is used in one of America’s staples; ice cream. Other uses in the food business include the carbonation of beverages.

Cleaning with dry ice pellets has proven to be a safe and very effective way to remove asphalt tiles, paint, rubber, and even mold. Dry ice is a safe and efficient replacement to steam, sand, water and even solvent blasting. The resulting residue is the CO2 gas, which comes from conversion from solid to gas. It has also been used as a cutting fluid in metalworking processes which provide temperature controlled cooling of both the metal and the cutting tool.

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