Dry ice is frozen carbon dioxide, and is therefore much colder than regular ice. Water freezes at 0 degrees, while a dry ice cube – 78 degrees or less. So you can keep items colder for longer.
In addition, do not wet the packaging. “If the dry ice gets warmer, it won’t melt. It evaporates,” says Ruud Jongeneel of resource Droogijs.nl. Hence the name dry ice.
It is used in many places. “We supply electronic stores, among other things. For example, if a Dutch steak has to be transported to the United States,” says Jungenell. “But pharmaceutical companies also use them to refrigerate medicines.” “
Visually the same as regular ice, dry ice is a welcome addition to regular ice cubes in the hospitality industry. “Dry ice gives an effervescent effect. That’s why it’s used in cocktails.”
Dry ice is also available at the University of Amsterdam, says UvA chemist Pim Lennebank. “We use it to cool certain particles. They are in trays in a freezer at -79 degrees.”
But it can also be dangerous. Dry ice can cause burns. “If you hit something very cold on your hands, your cells cool down so much that they freeze. Then they break apart. The same thing happens with a burn from something hot: Then your cells break down because of the heat,” says Linnebank.
In the laboratory, dry ice is always handled with forceps. “If you have dry ice in your hand for one second, you might actually get burned. Then it starts to sting.”
The supplier Droogijs.nl also advises its customers to use protective equipment, such as special gloves, pliers or a shovel. Jongeneel: “We have our do’s and don’ts on the poster.”
There are more dangers associated with dry ice. “When a dry ice cube is heated, the carbon dioxide melts and instantly turns into a gas. If too much carbon dioxide is released, the oxygen in the room is expelled. This can create a choking hazard,” says chemist Linnebank.
This danger lurks quickly, because a lot of carbon dioxide is already stored in a single cube of dry ice. “A lot of carbon dioxide is released immediately in gaseous form during the melt.”
Linnebank also recommends always good ventilation in vans. “Open the window so fresh air can come in. Then there will be less carbon dioxide in the air.”
The Labor Inspectorate advises a New advice To reduce risks by increasing the use of refrigeration and freezing elements. “Some supermarkets are already doing this.”
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