Dry ice is the solid form of carbon dioxide. It earned the name dry ice due to the fact that it only changes from solid to gaseous form (unlike normal ice, it does not melt down to a liquid format). Dry ice is used mainly for keeping things frozen. The solid carbon dioxide is also used in scientific experiments. You can find dry ice in your local grocery shops or in lab supply stores. The question is, how to store dry ice?
As we discussed, dry ice transforms itself from solid state directly to gaseous state. The process of transformation is known as sublimation. Sublimation of dry ice can be faster when it is kept in a hot place. Even in normal conditions, dry ice sublimates quite fast – 2 kilograms to 5 kilograms in 24 hours. Then, how to store dry ice and reduce the speed of its sublimation?
How to store dry ice for a longer time?
1. Use dry ice in a cold place. Dry ice sublimes faster in hot environment. Keeping dry ice in a colder place can reduce the speed of its transformation. However, do not keep dry ice in a refrigerator or freezer. The air flow in the appliances can cause a faster sublimation and it can also damage the refrigerator or freezer. If you are taking dry ice from a supplier to your own space, try to carry it in a cooler.
2. Cover the dry ice using newspapers or clothes. This can give an insulation to the dry ice and protect it from faster sublimation. If the cooler has airspace in it, fill the space with newspapers or clothes. The thicker the insulation of dry ice, the slower its sublimation process. Do not keep dry ice in a closed and completely airtight container. The sublimation of solid carbon dioxide to gaseous form can cause expansion of the container and explosion.
3. Use commercial storage containers. The best way to keep dry ice for a longer period of time is the usage of commercial storage containers. For a one-time purpose or for home usage, this may not be necessary as the commercial boxes are not so cheap.
Make sure that you use appropriate gloves to handle dry ice. If not taken proper care, dry ice can cause frostbites. There are several fun experiments with dry ice and for that you can also make dry ice at home.