Solidified carbon dioxide, otherwise known as dry ice, has several industrial applications. From pharmaceuticals to aerospace, this valuable substance has become the go-to material for the benefits it offers shipping and cold chain logistics.
Cold chain logistics refers to the transport of temperature-controlled products, such as fresh food, medicine, and vaccines. Dry ice, with its extremely low temperature of -109.3 degrees Fahrenheit and bacteria-resistant properties, is an integral part of this process.
Why not use wet ice?
There are several reasons why dry ice is preferable to regular ice when it comes to ensuring the integrity of perishable goods. Let’s take a closer look at the advantages of this substance, as well as some precautions that must be taken when handling it.
Advantages of Dry Ice in Shipping
When used in cold chain logistics, dry ice is either pressed into pellets or blocks. It is primarily used as a cooling agent for shipping a wide range of items from biological samples to fresh food.
Why is it so useful?
- Since CO2 can’t exist in a liquid state, dry ice sublimates to gas instead of melting. This ensures it doesn’t leave behind any residue that could contaminate materials.
- It is colorless, odorless, and tasteless.
- It is non-toxic and has been approved by the EPA, FDA, and the USDA for controlling the temperature of food.
- Since it doesn’t generate moisture, it’s highly unlikely that any bacteria or fungus can survive on dry ice.
- It doesn’t produce any waste.
- It is three times colder than wet ice and thus more efficient.
- It is readily available and more cost-effective.
- It is non-flammable and environmentally sustainable.
Precautions When Handling Dry Ice
Despite its many advantages, dry ice is a dangerous substance that must be handled with care. Here are some precautions that must be followed when using it:
- Due to its extremely low temperature, even the slightest handling of dry ice can cause frostbite and a host of other skin issues. Always handle dry ice with waterproof insulated gloves and wear safety glasses with shields on the side. Note that dry ice should never come into contact with one’s face or eyes. It is also hazardous if swallowed or eaten.
- Dry ice should only be stored in well-ventilated areas. Since it sublimates directly into gas, it fills the air with CO2 which can cause asphyxia.
- When kept in an air-tight container, immense amounts of CO2 the dry ice emits could lead to a build-up in pressure and cause the container to explode. Hence, always store dry ice in proper, specially designed containers like insulated coolers and Styrofoam chests.
As long as these precautions are followed, there is no better substance than dry ice to keep precious shipments at cool temperatures. It’s more efficient, doesn’t contaminate products, and leaves no smell behind.
nexAir: The Southeast’s Most Trusted Dry Ice Supplier
nexAir knows the value of dry ice in helping industries Forge Forward. We also understand the stringent regulations that must be followed in the handling and delivery of the substance. As one of the most trusted suppliers of dry ice and industrial gases across the Southeast, you can be sure that nexAir will use its KnowHow to ensure that your supply reaches you safely.
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