Dry ice is something that is synonymous with summertime and Halloween parties and movies alike! Surprisingly, it is not expensive and dry ice usually retails anywhere between $1 – $3 per pound.
Whether you want it to create some awesome spooky atmosphere at your annual Halloween fright fest, need it to keep your bevies cold on a hot summer day, or have it to ensure your few days’ worth of food stays cold and fresh on an exciting camping trip?
Dry ice is the way to achieve all this and more. But How Much Does Dry Ice Cost?
Let’s find out starting with…
What Is Dry Ice?
Dry ice is the solid form of carbon dioxide. Yes, the very same carbon dioxide that we breathe out each time we inhale a breath. The same carbon dioxide that trees utilize and, in return, release more life-giving oxygen back to us! Carbon dioxide is commonly known as a clear, odorless, non-flammable gas that can turn into a liquid or solid depending on the atmosphere and pressure.
How Is Dry Ice Made?
To make dry ice, carbon dioxide is actually liquefied under extreme pressure and very low temperatures. So we can force it to change to a liquid state and then inject it into holding tanks where it is frozen solid at extreme temperatures of -109° F.
Then, when the dry ice blocks or pellets are brought out to room temperature, they will start to smoke and dissolve back into the gas it formerly was. Its liquid state doesn’t naturally occur in our atmosphere, and that’s why dry ice doesn’t melt like regular ice and leave a pool of liquid; it simply evaporates into thin air!
How Was Dry Ice Discovered?
It is believed that dry ice was first “discovered” by Adrien-Jean-Pierre Thilorier. A French chemist who created a machine that, in turn, produced the world’s first glimpse of dry ice in the 1900s.
It did not become the big commodity that it is today until around 1925 when Prest Air Devices created the first ever CO2 fire extinguisher and also solid blocks of dry ice to interested railroad companies. That’s when the phenomenon and commercial use really took off.
Where Can I Buy Dry Ice?
You can buy blocks of dry ice from a number of different places, including Walmart, where Penguin Brand Dry Ice retails for $1.62 per pound. You can also purchase these 2 Day Dry Ice Packs at Walmart, which work great for lunchboxes or road trips.
Most supermarkets and grocery stores do not openly advertise dry ice on their websites, as not all stores stock it, so if you are looking specifically for it in these types of places, your best bet would be to phone ahead and inquire if the shop you plan to make a trip to actually stocks it.
For more commercial sized orders, there are a lot of companies that specialize in it. However, for most dry ice suppliers, there is a minimum amount required to place an order with them, starting at around 20 – 25 pounds.
What Is Dry Ice Used For?
Dry ice is used for fun props for parties and is great to add a spooky atmosphere to Halloween fright nights, but it also has a lot of other uses, including…
- Dry Ice Blast Cleaning
- Airline/Train and Bus Catering
- Food Distribution
- Meat Processing
- Medical Shipping
- Production of Pharmaceuticals
- Perishable Food Shipping
For instance, you might order some of your favorite ice cream to be delivered to your door. How does it stay frozen between the shop and your home? With wrapped packets of frozen ice!
Can I Touch Dry Ice With My Hands?
Definitely not! Dry ice only forms its solid state when under great amounts of pressure and very low temps. Remember I mentioned that it’s at -109° F. You will need to use insulated gloves, a thick oven mitt, or tongs to move it around. Otherwise, it will cause severe frostbite, which looks and feel like burns on your exposed skin.
Can I Consume Dry Ice?
No, absolutely not. Consuming solid dry ice is very hazardous. It can cause internal frostbite, plus you can poison yourself with too much carbon dioxide, the gas that gets released as it melts and which can cause asphyxiation.
However, it is safe to put in drinks as it sinks to the bottom of the glass and evaporates, leaving a very cool stream of smoke emitting from your glass. Just make sure the dry ice smoke has completely disappeared before taking a sip.
Is It Safe To Put Dry Ice In A Pool?
Dry ice is only safe to put in a pool if no one is swimming in it. The smoke from dry ice forms a dense mist along the topside of the pool, and anyone swimming in the cloud will be inhaling large amounts of carbon dioxide, which can cause unconsciousness and asphyxia.
Is Dry Ice Flammable?
No, it is not. Dry ice is created from carbon dioxide, which is a colorless, odorless non flammable gas.
Is Dry Ice Toxic To Animals?
Dry ice burns on contact, and if ingested, it will burn your pet’s throat and stomach. (That’s true for humans, too, by the way — only handle dry ice with gloves, and don’t let anyone touch dry ice with bare skin!).
Is It Safe To Eat Dry Ice Ice Cream?
Yes, it is. Ice cream made with liquid nitrogen ensures you get super smooth and creamy ice cream, as the nitrogen instantly freezes the ingredients and stops ice crystals from being formed. During this process, the liquid nitrogen evaporates into a gas, and only the ice cream ingredients are left. So enjoy!
How Cold Is Dry Ice?
Dry Ice is very cold! Its solid state is -109° Fahrenheit or -78.5° Celsius.
Can I Blend Dry Ice?
Yes! You can blend dry ice to turn it from a solid block to a fine powder. You will need to be very careful if you attempt this at home. Make small batches, and be careful not to inhale the dry ice smoke when taking off the lid. Please remember not to touch it with your bare skin, as even in frozen powder form, it will cause frostbite burns on your skin.
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Dry ice helps keep things cooler for longer. It is widely used in commercial settings and is also great for some added flair for cocktail parties and creating a spooky atmosphere.
It is the frozen, solid state of carbon dioxide and can be found in a variety of shops and supermarkets. Bigger chains and superstores would be your safest bet if you need it in a hurry and don’t have time to call ahead to see if it’s in stock. You can buy dry ice at the starting price of $1 per pound.
Enjoy your dry ice, and stay cool!
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