How to make dry ice

This ice never melts!

Along with or­di­nary ice, the sol­id phase of wa­ter which most peo­ple keep in their homes, there is also dry ice, which can be found in spe­cial­ized stores. Ev­ery­one knows the func­tion of or­di­nary ice: cool­ing drinks and food, use in cos­met­ics and medicine etc., while dry ice seems strange and mys­te­ri­ous.

[Deposit Photos]

This ar­ti­cle will help you to find out what dry ice is and how it is used, and you’ll also learn about a method of pre­par­ing it at home.

Let’s take a look at dry ice

Dry ice is sol­id car­bon diox­ide, with the for­mu­la CO₂.

Crystal structure of dry ice [Wikipedia]

At room tem­per­a­ture, this sub­stance has an in­ter­est­ing prop­er­ty: it doesn’t melt, it evap­o­rates. This means that dry ice com­plete­ly avoids the liq­uid state, which cre­ates an in­ter­est­ing ef­fect. Sol­id car­bon diox­ide got its name be­cause of its re­sem­blance to or­di­nary ice. The tem­per­a­ture of dry ice in its tran­si­tion from an or­di­nary state to a gaseous state is -78.5 de­grees Cel­sius. So you should be very care­ful in work­ing with this sub­stance, and wear spe­cial gloves and pro­tec­tive cloth­ing. Dry ice is made at spe­cial fac­to­ries, but if nec­es­sary it can also be made eas­i­ly at home.

The ap­pli­ca­tion of dried ice

Dry ice is a nat­u­ral, en­vi­ron­men­tal­ly sound and safe sub­stance, which has all the func­tions of or­di­nary ice, but as dry ice does not have a liq­uid state, it is more con­ve­nient for use, for ex­am­ple in trans­port­ing food or medicine. This sub­stance is also used for stor­ing ice cream in su­per­mar­kets and for cool­ing beer. But some home­mak­ers have also found an­oth­er ap­pli­ca­tion of dry ice, us­ing it to make fizzy wa­ter. Take a small piece of dry ice and put it in a can or bot­tle of wa­ter. Then firm­ly close the con­tain­er with a lid and shake it – the gas will be re­leased. Dry ice can also be used for mak­ing kvass. Re­mem­ber safe­ty rules and try not to over­do it: the con­tain­er will ex­plode if there is a large amount of dry ice in the bot­tle. You can also freeze food with it, for ex­am­ple meat or fish. Car­bon diox­ide is also used of­ten for house­hold pur­pos­es: you can use it to get rid of old ce­ram­ic tiles. The sub­li­ma­tion process of dry ice has an im­pres­sive ef­fect, so it is of­ten used in pho­to­graphs, and also at con­certs, dis­cos and oth­er events, serv­ing a dec­o­ra­tive func­tion.


Make dry ice your­self

You can make dry ice for prac­ti­cal pur­pos­es, and there are also var­i­ous in­ter­est­ing chem­i­cal ex­per­i­ments that in­volve this sub­stance. You can pre­pare car­bon diox­ide at home, but we still rec­om­mend that you pre­pare dry ice out­doors, and not in a closed room.

Here is a list of what you will need for the ex­per­i­ment:

  • a fire-ex­tin­guish­er with car­bon diox­ide (if you’re go­ing to buy a fire-ex­tin­guish­er, make sure you get the right one, be­cause not all fire-ex­tin­guish­ers use car­bon diox­ide. Foam and pow­der fire-ex­tin­guish­ers won’t be suit­able);

  • cloth gloves. Don’t use rub­ber gloves. A good op­tion is to wear warm knit­ted wool gloves or mit­tens;

  • an old, un­want­ed pil­low case;

  • pro­tec­tive gog­gles;

  • lab coat.

To car­ry out the ex­per­i­ment, you must ob­serve one con­di­tion — be re­spon­si­ble with the equip­ment, es­pe­cial­ly where your hands are con­cerned: you can’t work with­out pro­tec­tion, be­cause dry ice can cause burns. If you don’t feel con­fi­dent do­ing the ex­per­i­ment on your own, then call an ex­pe­ri­enced per­son to help you. Bright and safe ex­per­i­ments with oth­er gazes you’ll find here.

To start with, take the fire-ex­tin­guish­er and put the noz­zle into the pil­low case, sock or thick tow­el, de­pend­ing on what you use. Make sure that the noz­zle is com­plete­ly sealed by the cloth, so that the gas can’t es­cape.

Then press hard on the re­lease trig­ger. When the car­bon diox­ide gas flows out very quick­ly, it doesn’t man­age to turn into gas, and re­sem­bles snow. This is what dry ice looks like. When you add pieces of dry ice to wa­ter, a snow-white fog ap­pears, from the evap­o­ra­tion of the ice.

With dry ice you can show chil­dren in­ter­est­ing tricks, for ex­am­ple you can add a clean­ing agent to wa­ter con­tain­ing dry ice. A lot of foam will ap­pear on the sur­face, and if you burst it, fog will come out of the bub­bles.