Surely you have ever heard of dry ice. It is carbon dioxide in solid state, frozen at atmospheric pressure at a temperature of -78,5 ° C. The characteristic that makes it more special is that when it "melts" it goes directly to a gaseous state without leaving any type of moisture. Hence it is known as dry ice.
Do you want to know its properties and its different uses?
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Characteristics and properties
Dry ice is obtained from gas generated as a by-product of other industrial processes. Dry ice is produced in combustion plants and fermentation reactions. As mentioned before, it's about frozen carbon dioxide. This gas at very low temperature is capable of being in a solid state. When it is sublimated it does not generate any type of liquid, water or humidity.
When this gas is sublimated in an atmosphere laden with CO2, it tends to reduce the amount of humidity in the environment. This makes this gas very useful to use when trying to preserve products that are sensitive to moisture.
Each kilogram of dry ice generates 136 frigories of energy. The gas is at a temperature of -78,5 ° C and yields about 16 extra frigories, which makes it possible to obtain a total of 152 frigories for every kilogram of dry ice.
Advantages of dry ice over water
In equal weight, dry ice is capable of cooling 170% more than conventional ice. This is very interesting in the kitchen field, since it is capable of cooling products at a higher speed. Since the density of dry ice is greater than 1,5 Kg / dm3 and the density of water ice is equal to 0,95 Kg / dm3, it results that a equal volume of ice used, dry ice has a cooling capacity equivalent to 270% compared to traditional ice. This has a critical influence on those places where the volume that the ice occupies is fundamental, dry ice is the best choice to take advantage of this space.
Dry ice not only has special properties like those mentioned above, but it is also considered a bacteriostatic agent and a fungistatic agent. When sublimation occurs, an atmosphere is generated whose CO2 concentration is so high that an antimicrobial action is exerted. Therefore, it is an excellent gas to slow the growth of bacteria, molds and yeasts and create a completely sanitized environment.
This gas is capable of displacing the oxygen present in the atmosphere, inside containers and in containers, which contributes to improving the biological quality of the places where certain products need to be stored and preserved.
What is it used for?
Dry ice is used for various treatments and actions today. Among its uses we find:
- Medical and scientific research: To preserve organs for transplants or studies, it is highly recommended to use dry ice, since its great refrigeration capacity keeps it in good condition. It is also used in scientific research to keep biological products at low temperatures, cool exothermic reactions and ultra-fast freeze cells, tissues, bacteria and viruses.
- In restoration: In haute cuisine, dry ice is used to open up a world of possibilities to create totally exotic dishes of high quality and price. Thanks to the properties of this ice, very interesting and attractive results can be achieved for the client. The most sophisticated chefs can elaborate from original presentations to aromatic mists, cold infusions, textures and contrasts in mousses and foie gras, slushies, ice cream, foams and creams, or create striking impressive effects with smoke in mixes and elaborately prepared cocktails.
- Industry: In the industry this element is used to facilitate the assembly and adjustment of pieces by cold contraction. It is also used for cryogenic grinding and deburring of plastics and rubbers.
- Agri-food: In this sector it is used to cool doughs in kneaders during mincing and mixing of meat, deep freezing of food and temperature regulation. The use of dry ice in transport ensures the maintenance of the cold chain.
- Large-scale distribution: It is used when an urgent repair is needed in case some refrigeration equipment is disconnected and to maintain the cold chain.
- Cryogenic cleaning: dry ice particles can be injected at high pressure to clean all those surfaces that have suffered some type of alteration by water, as in some electrical installations.
- Agriculture: It is used with good results for the control of pests such as rodents, moles and insects.
- Computers and electronics: It is a very good option to cool electronic devices and improve their performance, speeding up the transmission of electrical signals.
- Construction: It is used for freezing floors and pipes to create a plug before maintenance.
How to make dry ice at home
If you want to see the special effects of dry ice at home, you just have to have the following materials:
- CO2 - carbon dioxide (we can get it from a fire extinguisher)
- A bag or cloth
- An adapter for inflating bicycle wheels
You have to place the cloth bag (it is important that it has pores so that it lets a little gas escape) around the nozzle of the extinguisher or the CO2 bottle that we are using. Once we have placed the cloth bag, we let the gas release so that it enters the bag. When the gas is released, the pressure inside it will automatically freeze it and we will have dry ice. This dry ice can be used to give an impressive effect to our desserts and drinks, since when it comes into contact with water it will sublimate and give rise to that impressive white vapor.
As you can see, dry ice is widely used in many sectors and its effects never cease to amaze us. Now that you know its properties, dare to use it at home and surprise your friends.