Carbon dioxide has earned a terrible reputation the world over as it is one of the top five gases causing global warming. But here’s the irony. Industries are turning to carbon dioxide in its environment-friendly form—dry ice—to combat global warming.
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What is Dry Ice?
Carbon dioxide when liquefied, frozen, and compressed, makes dry ice. It earned its name for not melting into a puddle of water. That’s right. When dry ice melts through a process called sublimation, it changes from solid to gaseous form without leaving water residue.
How Does it Work?
Most of us equate dry ice as a substance you do not want to touch with your bare hands as it can instantly freeze cells resulting in frostbite. Furthermore, breathing in too much of its gaseous form is a recipe for suffocation. Make sure you are wearing the proper PPE and following safety guidelines while handling dry ice.
Despite its handling issues, dry ice is widely used in industries as it is an inexpensive solution that consumes no fuel or electricity. It is most notably used in heat displacement refrigeration. Another benefit of using dry ice is that its form can be altered as required and delivered in a way that limits waste.
Why is it environmentally friendly, you wonder? When dry ice turns to gas, it does not add carbon dioxide to the atmosphere. This means, unlike its counterparts, it does not contribute to the greenhouse effect, making it a champion ingredient that’s clean and safe.
Benefits of using dry ice:
- Supercooling (-109.3 degrees Fahrenheit)
- No water residue, no leakage, and no contamination
- When used as a cleaning substance, it can reduce downtime and costs
- Eliminates exposure to dangerous chemical cleaning agents on employees
- Effectively decontaminates surfaces
Which Industries Make Use of Dry Ice in Their Operations?
From pharmaceutical lab applications to DNA research and genetic engineering, dry ice plays a vital role in the experimentation, preservation, storage, and shipment of biological samples. Here’s a closer look at five industries that depend on dry ice.
From cleaning cargo bays to removing carbon buildup, from runway cleaning to removing oil and grease residue—the aerospace industry needs a cleaning solution that handles all this and more. Dry ice is ideal as it isn’t abrasive, leaves no residue, and can be used safely around electrical components.
The automotive industry has many uses for dry ice—reducing production shutdown to cleaning cavities and hard-to-reach areas, removing rubber buildup in molds to increase tooling life, and reducing the risk of rejected parts.
Food Processing Industry
A chemical-free, cost-effective, non-residual cleaning agent is a boon to the food processing industry. Not only does dry ice clean superbly, but it also decontaminates, improves the safety of workers, extends the life of machinery, and reduces cost. Beyond its cleaning properties, dry ice is a fantastic alternative for short-distance temperature-sensitive food transportation.
In oil fields and petroleum operations, dry ice blast can prove to be an effective solution for protecting equipment from corrosion. It’s generally safe and can be done when the machinery is up and running.
Ever had an ink or paint splatter that once dried was impossible to remove? With dry ice blasting, the printing industry can keep machinery free of foreign materials and ink buildup, improve print quality, and increase machinery lifespan. There’s also no need to disassemble the press to eliminate excess ink and paper build-up, grease, and oil.
Dry ice is super environment-friendly. It is also a no-contact, no waste, and economical solution for many industries. As global warming becomes more real every day, businesses need to realize the importance of dry ice in lowering their carbon footprint, improving their processes, and cleaning their equipment at a fraction of their current costs.
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