What Is Dry Ice?

For all the seemingly endless wonderment that it brings, many people are not quite sure what it dry ice is. Here is a little “Dry Ice 101” from The Penguin.

Let’s start with the basics: dry ice is solid carbon dioxide (CO2). Think back to high school science class—by itself, carbon dioxide is inert, colorless, odorless and tasteless. When you pressurize CO2 and then flash to 0 psig the temperature drops to 109.3 degrees Fahrenheit (or below), it becomes dry ice.

The cool thing (literally) about dry ice is that has a refrigeration value of 248 BTUs per pound.  That might not mean very much to non-geeks, but that’s almost twice the cooling capacity of wet ice!

Dry ice “sublimates” (goes from a solid to a gas) as it disappears and due to this. It is important to store dry ice in a well-ventilated area.  Moving air (sublimates) dry ice, so if you store it in a regular freezer, the fan that moves the air to cool it will end up making the dry ice evaporate faster.

When dry ice comes in contact with a liquid, it liquefies before it becomes a gas, forming carbonic acid (carbonated water).

It doesn’t matter if you’re using it to help your kids with their science experiment or playing with the leftovers (admit it, you know that’s your favorite part!), the science behind dry ice makes it one of the most interesting substances you can have in your kitchen.  As always, happy chilling and keep us up to date with your cool dry ice experiments!

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