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How is Dry Ice Made? What is it made of?



Dry ice is one of the world's most commonly used cryogenic gas. Its uses range from creating dramatic foggy effects during Halloween to transportation of temperature-sensitive medical and pharmaceutical products and ice blasting, to name a few. Its preference largely comes from its ability to maintain extremely low temperature and sublimation, which turns out gas rather than water when exposed to high temperature. 


Are you wondering how dry ice is made and what it is made of? At the Cryo Group, we would like to help you understand more about dry ice, including its components, how it's made, and its usage. Keep reading to learn more. 


What are the Components of Dry Ice?


Dry ice is frozen carbon dioxide in a solid state made by freezing it at around -109 degrees Fahrenheit. It's famous for its sublimation, where it directly turns into gas under normal atmospheric pressure. 


How Do You Make Dry Ice? 

There are several steps involved in making dry ice. This occurs in a controlled environment due to the extremely low temperatures and potential hazards that they pose. These steps include CO2 harvesting, liquefaction, and processing into blocks and pellets. Here's a closer look at these processes.


CO2 Harvesting 


Dry ice manufacturing starts by harvesting carbon dioxide from refining petroleum, ammonia, and other chemicals. However, it's largely produced through ammonia production, a process known as the Haber-Bosch process. In this process, carbon dioxide is produced as a by-product of decarbonization, which is used to convert hydrogen and nitrogen to ammonia. 


Manufacturers also produce carbon dioxide by burning natural gas to separate carbon and hydrogen atoms, which are used to make ammonia. They then mix the oxygen to produce carbon dioxide, which is later used to manufacture dry ice. 


It's crucial to note that CO2, meant to manufacture food-grade dry ice, is scrubbed to make it safe for use. Manufacturers run the CO2 through chambers with CO2 adsorbent, where the CO2 is adsorbed, and the remaining gas is vented for disposal via flare or a thermal oxidizer. 


Liquefaction


The next step involves liquifying carbon dioxide under high compression and low temperature. Once it's liquified, it's sent off to a factory for processing and making it into its solid forms. This process involves depressurization, where CO2 enters a tank with normal atmospheric pressure built through an expansion valve. This valve relieves the liquified gas pressure, allowing it to turn into gas again. As it expands, it lowers the temperature inside the tank and freezes to solidify before it turns into gas. 


Processing Into Blocks and Pellets


Part of the carbon dioxide produced at the liquefaction process turns into snow that condenses on the press's upper plate. The press compresses the snow for approximately five minutes under high pressure to convert it into blocks. However, this process is different for pellets since it involves forcing the snow into an extruder plate for compression into pellets. The equipment used in this process is referred to as pelletizer. 


What are the Uses for Dry Ice?


Now that you understand how dry ice is made, It's crucial to learn its uses to determine how best it suits your business or personal use. Here are some of the uses of dry ice you should know about: 


  • Transportation of biological samples, vaccines, and certain medicines in the medical and pharmaceutical industry 

  • Freezing and transportation of farm produce 

  • Producing theatrical presentation of drinks and foods in restaurant bars

  • Dry ice blasting 

  • Transporting foods and beverages for camping 

  • Creating Halloween effects by combining hot tap water to create spooky foggy displays 

  • Preserving game for fishermen and hunters 

  • Fighting fires by depleting oxygen in space

  • Repairing plumbing lines 

  • Fixing car dents 


Interested in Learning More About How You Can Use Dry Ice? Contact Us Today 


Dry ice is undoubtedly an essential component in businesses and personal uses. If you're considering getting one for your business in Florida, Hollywood, Hialeah, or Miami,


The Cryo Group is here to help you get a constant and efficient supply. As the leading supplier of dry ice and other cryogenic gases, you can rest assured that we will maintain a quick delivery and expert advice on how to use your dry ice. Contact us to learn more. 


Image Credit: CornelPutan / Shutterstock

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