Dry ice is the solid form of carbon dioxide. Normally, carbon dioxide
is a gas present in our atmosphere, but it becomes a solid at
atmospheric pressure and a temperature of -109 degrees Fahrenheit
(-78.5 degrees Celsius). It is a lot like normal ice except that at
normal room temperature and pressure carbon dioxide will sublimate, or
turn from a solid to a gas directly, without first becoming a liquid.
Some safety tips to keep in mind:
1) Always wear gloves when handling dry ice. Cryo gloves, normal
winter gloves, even an oven mitt or a good thick towel will work.
2) Store the dry ice in a insulated cooler. Just a simple styrofoam
cooler will be plenty. (DO NOT store it in a completely airtight
3) Work with dry ice in a well ventilated area. Carbon dioxide is a
normal part of the air we breath, but too much of it is toxic.
4) Do not leave dry ice on tile or anything else that may be damaged by extreme cold.
5) DO NOT allow children to use dry ice unsupervised.
Basically, just be careful and have fun. Dry ice is very cold, but
not very dangerous if used responsibly. For more information about dry
ice, including more safety instructions and where to get it, click here
(republished on 07/25/06)