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Properties of Dry Ice

It generates no condensation in refrigerated products, produces a bacteriostatic and fungistatic effect, generates no waste, is easy to apply and carry, and is non-toxic

What is dry ice?

Dry ice is the name given to carbon dioxide (CO2) in the solid state, which is at a temperature of -78.5 ºC at atmospheric pressure. It is generally obtained from the gas generated as a byproduct in other industrial processes, such as combustion plants or fermentation reactions. Its name comes from the fact that, when giving off its cold, solid CO2 gasifies without generating any liquid, water or moisture whatsoever. In fact, when it sublimates it generates an atmosphere saturated with carbon dioxide, which, being a dry gas, tends to reduce the level of ambient moisture. This is a very useful feature for the preservation of moisture-sensitive products.

What are its properties?

When dry ice exchanges its latent cold with its surroundings, it changes from a solid into a gas without going through the liquid state: this transformation process is known as sublimation. Every kilogram of dry ice generates 136 kilofrigories when it sublimates. The resulting gas is at a temperature of –78.5 ºC; in addition, this gas gives off 14-16 extra frigories, so it is possible to obtain up to 152 kilofrigories for every kilogram of Dry Ice.

What are its thermal advantages over water ice?

Kilo for kilo, dry ice has a refrigeration capacity equivalent to 170% of that of regular water ice. Since the density of dry ice exceeds 1.5 Kg/dm3 and that of water ice is 0.95 Kg/dm3, using equal volumes of ice, dry ice has a refrigeration capacity equivalent to 270% of that of regular ice. Hence, in applications where the volume taken up by the ice is a critical factor, dry ice is the best choice available.

What other unique effects does it have?

Dry ice is considered a bacteriostatic and fungistatic agent. Its sublimation leads to the generation of an atmosphere saturated with CO2 gas that exerts an antimicrobial action; the development of bacteria, molds and yeasts is slowed down, thereby contributing to a higher-quality preservation of food and perishable goods. The generation of CO2 gas produces a protective inert atmosphere, which displaces oxygen from the inside of packaging and transportation containers, thereby contributing to enhance their microbiological quality, prevent oxidation and maintain optimum preservation conditions for perishables.

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