Dry ice

Dry ice is the solid form of carbon dioxide. It is used primarily as a cooling agent. Its advantages include lower temperature than that of water ice and not leaving any residue (other than incidental frost from moisture in the atmosphere). It is useful for preserving frozen foods where mechanical cooling is unavailable.


Pellets of dry ice. image: wikipedia/Richard Wheeler

 Dry ice sometimes referred to as "cardice” (british term),

Dry ice sublimes (changes directly from a solid to a gas) at −78.5 °C (−109.3 °F) at Earth's atmospheric pressure


The extreme cold of dry ice makes the solid dangerous to handle without protection due to burns caused by freezing (frostbite).  

While generally not very toxic, the outgassing from it can cause hypercapnia (from Greek Kapno meaning ‘smoke' is an abnormally elevated carbon dioxide levels in the blood) due to buildup in confined locations.

History of dry ice

It is generally accepted that dry ice was first observed in 1835 by French inventor Adrien-Jean-Pierre Thilorier (1790–1844), who published the first account of the substance.

In his experiments, he noted that when opening the lid of a large cylinder containing liquid carbon dioxide, most of the liquid carbon dioxide quickly evaporated.

 This left only solid dry ice in the container. In 1924, Thomas B. Slate applied for a US patent to sell dry ice commercially. Subsequently, he became the first to make dry ice successful as an industry. 

 In 1925, this solid form of CO2 was trademarked by the DryIce Corporation of America as "Dry ice", thus leading to its common name.

That same year the DryIce Co. sold the substance commercially for the first time; marketing it for refrigerating purposes. 

The alternative name "Cardice" is a registered trademark of Air Liquide UK Ltd. It is sometimes written as "card ice”.

Adapted from: Dry ice. (2016, March 9). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 07:11, April 4, 2016, from https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Dry_ice&oldid=709177260