Dry ice, a solid form of carbon dioxide, brings along many helpful use cases – from storing food or drinks on your camping trips to the decoration of your Halloween party can be complemented with dry ice. Not only this but dry ice is also being used in big industries like transportation, food and medicine.
The main quality that dry ice has is that it doesn’t melt easily as it holds extremely cold temperature, around -79 degree Celsius. It can provide many benefits but, if carried in the wrong way, dry ice may lose its significance in a very short span. But we won’t let that happen to you.
Read on to find out how long does dry ice last? And how can you make them last longer?
So, How Long Does Dry Ice Last?
Unfortunately, there’s no absolute time frame that can be stated for dry ice’s longevity. How long your dry ice will last completely depends on the quantity and the storage method you use.
If you store dry ice in a cooler, then it can definitely last longer, around 18-24 hours. But, if you store dry ice in an open container, the number reduces to 3-5 hours. When stored in liquid, it goes even lower, lasting about 45 minutes only.
It’s good to know that dry ice consists of CO2, which means it converts from its solid state to gas, which is known as sublimation. Due to sublimation, it loses 5-10% of its quantity per day.
Therefore, you will have to buy more dry ice than you actually need. For example, if you want to use 20 pounds of dry ice, buy at least 25-35 pounds to fulfil your requirements.
What Are Some Ways To Make Your Dry Ice Last Longer?
No doubt that dry ice’s lifespan is limited, but nothing is stopping you from trying your best to see its full potential
Using large blocks of dry ice is one of the most effective ways to make it last longer. When you bring blocks of dry ice at home, eliminate your tendency to break them down into smaller pieces because it speeds up the sublimation process. The larger the blocks of your dry ice, the longer it will take for them to sublimate.
Another thing you can do is restrict any liquid content reaching out to your dry ice. Water is known to dispose of dry ice at a faster rate.
Using a high-quality cooler can also help increase your dry ice’s lifespan. Keep your dry ice loosely closed in the cooler, and make sure that the cooler is placed in a ventilated area.
What Are Some Precautions To Take When Using Dry Ice?
Dry ice is extremely helpful, but there are a few precautions that you need to take to avoid any risks that it may pose.
- Avoid Introducing It To Bare Skin – The extremely cold temperature of dry ice can cause a few threats if handled with carelessness. It’s recommended to use heavy gloves whenever carrying dry ice. Introducing it to your naked skin can lead to health conditions like frostbite.
- Never Swallow Dry Ice – Dry Ice’s cold temperature can also cause harm to your internal body parts. Thus, never swallow or let it come in contact with your lips or tongue.
- Do Not Store It In an Airtight Container – Dry ice turns into gas, not water. Hence, storing it in an airtight container can cause the buildup of carbon dioxide, which may lead to a burst. Do not store dry ice in your operational freezer either, as its temperature may decrease from its optimal level, which can cause your freezer to shut down.
- Do Not Keep It In a Closed Room – Keeping dry ice in a closed room or car can be hazardous for humans. The release of CO2 can lead to threats like difficulty in breathing. That’s why keeping your dry ice where fresh air is available is highly recommended.
- Do Not Break Ice Without Protection – Put on your face shield or safety goggles before you start to break your dry ice. The broken pieces are likely to fly, come in contact with your skin or eyes, and cause you harm.
- Do Not Dispose Of It Improperly – If you have some leftover dry ice, do not throw them in your toilet or sink, as it may ruin them. One of the best ways to dispose of dry ice is to put it in a bucket of water and just leave it in a ventilated area for some time.
Dry ice provides great use cases, but in order to avail them fully, you have to store it appropriately to maximize its effectiveness. You can use the methods like using big blocks, storing in high-quality coolers and more that we described above to make your dry ice last longer.
You also have to make sure to take precautions while using dry ice. Generally, it is known to be safe, but its high cold temperature and CO2 gas may lead to problems if not handled properly.
So, now we hope you’ve got the answer to your question, ‘How long does dry ice last?’
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Can I Keep Dry Ice In a Plastic Bowl?
Yes, you can keep dry ice in a plastic bowl. Place the bowl on a hard surface like a wooden cutting board so the surface below doesn’t take any hit.
Can I Put Dry Ice In My Drink?
Yes, putting dry ice in your drink is safe to give it a creative effect. Just make sure not to swallow it.
Is Dry Ice Better Than Water Ice?
Dry ice is known to be providing three times more cooling than the normal water ice cubes. It also lasts longer, which makes it much more effective than normal ice.