Storing Dry Ice: A How to Guide Storing Dry Ice: A How to Guide
Dry ice is a potentially dangerous substance to handle so care must be taken when storing dry ice. Being liquefied, frozen carbon dioxide it has an extremely cold temperature, it can turn from a gas to a solid at -109.3, meaning it could badly damage your skin and body if precautions are not made. With the right safety measures in place storing dry ice needn't be dangerous, it is easy to handle and simple to freeze.
To store dry ice you need:
- Dry ice
- Insulated container
- Insulated gloves
Step 1 - Preparation
Plan in advance when you will be needing your dry ice as you will need to purchase it as near to the time as possible, this is due to the nature of dry ice which switches from solid to a gas over time. This process is also known as sublimate and is where dry ice gets its name as it changes from solid to gas with no liquid phase in-between. Ensure that you wind your car windows down when transporting the dry ice and that the area you will be working in is also well ventilated.
During the process of dry ice turning to gas, it releases carbon dioxide into the atmosphere which can be dangerous so if you experience any sudden symptoms such as headaches, breathing difficulties, blue lips or fingernails you should leave the room immediately. Fresh air is must as re-circulated air will not be safe Ensure you wear gloves whenever you handle the dry ice as it can cause frostbite and also wear a long sleeved shirt to protect your arms and chest. Supervise any children who are nearby, never leave them or the dry ice unattended.
Step 2 - Choose a Container
Keep the dry ice in a thick insulated container, such as a storage container for dry ice or a cooler, but remember to not completely seal the container as you risk allowing the carbon dioxide to expand, which could cause an explosion. Keep the container in a well ventilated room; do not place the dry ice in your freezer or refrigerator as the thermostat will be switched off because of the extreme cold.
Step 3 - Carefully Handle the Dry Ice
Wearing your gloves, carefully open the dry ice container, then using either your hands or tongs remove the block of dry ice and place it on a soft surface such as some fabric as tiled or hard surfaces could be damaged by the cold temperatures. The dry ice is now ready to be cut with the tool of your choice.
Step 4 - Safely Dispose
When you are ready to dispose of the dry ice, simply remove it from the insulated container and leave it unwrapped on a soft surface to aerate. Make sure the room is well ventilated and wait for it to change back to gas. Air out any storage areas and rooms that have contained dry ice before you re-enter as carbon dioxide is heavier than air and will collect in low areas.