Dry Ice FAQs
Do you need dry ice? Many people have questions about where to buy it, how to store it, and how long it lasts. Below, we answer some of the most common questions regarding dry ice.
Where do I get dry ice?
Dry ice pellets or blocks can be ordered from industrial gas suppliers, welding supply companies and other regional suppliers. Dry ice can be picked up directly from suppliers, or most major metropolitan areas have regular delivery trucks that cover 100 mile radiuses. Dry ice can also be shipped using a common carrier and it is delivered in insulated containers.
You can also produce your own dry ice with a pelletizer. Read more about producing your own dry ice below.
How do I store dry ice and how long does it last?
Dry ice should be stored in an insulated container, which is provided by the supplier and picked up by them when needed. The thicker the insulation, the slower it will sublimate. Depending on the climate and thickness of your container, typical dry ice sublimation is approximately 2% to 10% per day.
What is dry ice used for?
Dry ice is used primarily as a cooling agent in areas such as food and pharmaceutical shipment. Most recently, dry ice’s applications within the pharmaceutical industry have gained increased attention with the development of the COVID-19 vaccine. Many of the vaccines will need to be transported and stored at ultra-low temperatures, a task only suited only for dry ice.
Dry ice is also used for dry ice blasting or cleaning, an alternative solution to sandblasting, soda blasting, and abrasive blasting. Dry ice blasting can be used in industries like aerospace & aviation, contract cleaning, food & beverage, healthcare, plastics & composites, and many more.
How does dry ice work?
Dry ice is the solid, frozen form of carbon dioxide gas. Because of the unique characteristics of carbon dioxide, when dry ice sublimates it skips the liquid stage completely and turns directly from a solid to a gas. Dry ice is a great cooling agent when transporting perishable items such as food or pharmaceuticals.
How much dry ice do I need?
The amount of dry ice needed to clean effectively varies from application to application and also can vary dramatically with each dry ice blasting system.
The average dry ice consumption for dry ice blasting equipment will range from approximately 0.7 lbs (0.32 kg) per minute for a MicroParticle system to 2 1/2 lbs (1.1 kg) per minute for a pellet system.
How much does dry ice cost?
Dry ice is a commodity and prices vary geographically.
Is dry ice dangerous?
Dry ice is the solid form of carbon dioxide. It is not dangerous when used and stored correctly. Because dry ice is extremely cold and quickly sublimates into carbon dioxide gas, it can pose threats when used or stored improperly. For more information on safety precautions you can take with dry ice, click here.
Are there special precautions to take when using dry ice?
When working with dry ice, special precautions must be taken to ensure the area is sufficiently ventilated and that proper PPE is administered when dealing with the liquid or solid form of CO2 (dry ice). Some safety precautions include:
- Proper ventilation
- Identify and label areas
- Monitor and limit exposure
- Utilize proper PPE
- Stay alert and be aware
- Follow safety guidelines
For more information on safety precautions to take when using dry ice, read our Safety Post here.
Can I make my own dry ice?
Dry ice can be produced on demand using a dry ice production machine, also known as a pelletizer. Producing your own dry ice must be economically viable and the amount of dry ice used on a daily and weekly basis must be considered.
Pelletizers can be equipped with multiple dies to produce a range of extrusion sizes (3mm to 19mm). From nuggets to pellets, pelletizers can produce multiple sizes of dry ice for a broad range of solutions.
Have more questions about dry ice blasting? Check out our Definitive Guide to Dry Ice Blasting!