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How To Buy And Transport Dry Ice: A Safety Guide

Sunday, April 14th, 2019
how to safely handle dry ice

For the average person, dry ice is not a regular purchase. This solid form of carbon dioxide is typically sold in select grocery stores and gas stations (a quick Google search for ‘Dry Ice near me’ should give the closest retailer). However, knowing how to safely transport dry ice before making the purchase is essential.

Remember, dry ice is extremely cold (-109 F) and will cause serious injury if allowed to come into contact with bare skin! Always wear cotton gloves and use tongs when handling dry ice!

Estimate how much dry ice you need

To find out how much dry ice to purchase, think about when it will be used. If the dry ice won’t be used for its purpose right away, plan for a loss of product. Remember that dry ice sublimates at about 5 to 10 pounds for every 24-hour period.

What form of dry ice will you purchase?

Dry ice that is sold in grocery stores or area retailers typically comes in two forms: block or pellet. Remember that the more surface area that is exposed, the faster the sublimation rate will be. By this reasoning, dry ice pellets will sublimate faster than a solid chunk of dry ice.

Because dry ice pellets convert into a gas so quickly, they make the better option to be used in theatrical special “fog” effects. The size of pellets also makes it a more suitable choice for shipping food items, as they can be arranged to fit the container better than a block.

Bring a container along with you

You’ll want to have a cooler or cardboard box to take with you. This will give you a safe way to move the dry ice around as needed along with shielding it from sublimating too fast. Another effective way you can extend the life of your dry ice purchase is to also bring along a blanket or sleeping bag to wrap around the cooler or box once you place your purchased dry ice inside. This will shield against temperature changes, air flow, and the subsequent sublimation.

Put the dry ice in your container after purchase

Dry ice is usually sold in plastic bags. You’ll want to put the plastic bag and its contents inside the cooler or box you brought with you. Close the lid to your container, but make sure there is just enough space left so it doesn’t seal. This will insulate the dry ice and prevent warmer temperatures from speeding up its sublimation process while allowing for the built up carbon dioxide vapor to escape. If the vapor has no room to slip out, the gas pressure will build up and cause an explosion.

Roll down your windows

Remember that as dry ice sublimates, it produces carbon dioxide vapor. As sublimation occurs, the carbon dioxide levels will increase. You need to eliminate the risk of asphyxiation that comes with these high levels by making sure you allow fresh air to circulate. Roll down the all the windows so that there is fresh air moving throughout.

Use a cooler to store dry ice

The best place to store dry ice is a dry ice compatible cooler. Again, make sure the cooler does not seal, allowing for air to escape as it sublimates. Beef up your insulation by double-bagging the dry ice with any extra plastic bags you have at home; then, wrap the cooler with a blanket or sleeping bag. This drastically slows down the sublimation rate, extending the lifespan of your dry ice by a considerable margin.

Caution: Don’t store dry ice in a freezer

Although it may initially seem like a good idea, you should avoid dry ice in your refrigerator or freezer. Dry ice is much colder than the temperatures of these appliances. This frigid temperature drop can cause the thermostat to turn off the appliance and the carbon dioxide levels will build up, and the gas pressure from sublimation could result in a hazardous explosion outward from the appliance. The freezer will also push air circulation across the dry ice product, sublimating the ice faster than it sitting in a box in the garage.

We Are Reliant Dry Ice

Dry ice is a versatile product that can be used in a wide variety of commercial and industrial applications. If you are looking for dry ice in large quantities, contact the experts at Reliant Dry Ice today. We are passionate about providing high-quality and reliable products for all of your needs. Call us at (714) 330-4281or Contact Us by email to learn more About Us, our Products, and Dry Ice Blasting.