Dry Ice Applications

Airline Catering

The Airline industry uses dry ice for in-flight catering keeping food chilled or frozen until ready to prepare/serve predominantly on long haul flights. With no mechanical refrigeration on-board aircraft, dry ice slices are put into specially designed ‘holdalls’ that are fitted inside trolleys and stores to preserve and maintain food temperatures within acceptable profiles. As the dry ice sublimes (goes from solid to gas) it leaves no residue to contaminate or compromise the quality of food.

Cold Grinding

Cold grinding can produce uniform size particles of any material whether rubber, plastic, pharmaceuticals, chemicals, or herbs and spices. Adding dry ice to the grinding material to cool it down to its embrittlement point before passing through the grinding mill ensures that materials such as tough thermoplastics as well as soft or pliable materials become brittle enough to be ground to very fine particles. Grinding processes can produce extremely high temperatures but the dry ice helps regulate heat and allows higher material output.

Dry Ice Blast Cleaning

Dry ice blast cleaning is an environmentally friendly method of surface cleaning available as an alternative to the traditional use of chemicals, high pressure water jetting or sand/grit blasting. The technology operates by introducing 3mm dry ice pellets into a pressurised air stream accelerating them to supersonic speed. The impact of the pellets on the target surface removes unwanted dirt and contamination, leaving the surface dry and abrasion free. As the dry ice pellets immediately sublime on impact (turning from solid to gas), there is no secondary or toxic waste disposal necessary. To read more about Dry Ice Blast Cleaning, click HERE

Freeze Branding

Freeze branding is a painless, humane and permanent method of livestock identification and is now used in preference to hot branding. Chilled branding irons using dry ice in association with isopropyl alcohol, freezes the animals’ hair follicles, destroying the pigmentation gland causing the hair to grow back white. This results in a permanent ownership mark.

Freeze Drying

Common practice used in the Agrochemical, Food and Pharmaceutical sectors for preserving and extending shelf-life of organic products, food and high-value pharmaceuticals. Freeze drying by dry ice (or Lyophilisation) happens at extremely low temperatures during sublimation (when the dry ice phases from solid to gas), well below the freezing point of water and is less damaging than other methods of dehydration and neither affects the appearance or flavour of products by rapidly preserving in a totally ‘fresh’ state. Freeze dried products can be stored for months or years at room temperature without any deterioration or spoilage.

In-process Cooling for the Chemical Industry

In certain applications it is useful to be able to quickly cool, chill or freeze a material in a process. The extreme cold and cooling energy of dry ice can be used to slow or even stop some chemical reactions. Dry ice is also used to neutralize alkalis and to produce cold ‘traps’ that provide very low temperature surfaces on which molecules can condense.

In-process Cooling for the Food Industry

Dry ice is predominantly used in the industrial process of minced meat and sausage manufacturing to keep fresh meat within temperature profiles. By adding dry ice to the meat before mincing not only keeps the meat cold but it also eliminates the growth of bacteria subsequently reducing spoilage.

Plumbing Pipe Repairs

Dry ice can be used to freeze pipes, when there is no means of accessing the main shut-off valve to stop the flow of water. Water inside the pipe can be frozen so the pipe can be cut or repaired without the continual flow of water to hamper the work.

Sample Distribution within the Pharmaceutical Industry

Dry ice is commonly used to transport biological samples (i.e. tissue, blood) and temperature sensitive biomedical/pharmacological products. Dry ice is often used as it offers extended cooling for the payload and can be 4 times less than the average cost of transport by mechanical refrigerated means.

Shrink Fitting

Shrink fitting is commonly used in engineering to fit together bearings, collars, shafts and other components that require an interference fit. The component to be ‘fitted in’ is packed in dry ice causing it to contract. While still cold, it is assembled with its mating part and allowed to return to ambient temperature. The ‘fitted’ component returns to its original size creating the tight interference fit required.

Special Effects

Small, localised fog effects for use in theatres and by photographers and film makers can be achieved by adding dry ice pellets in a bucket of hot water which increases the sublimation rate immediately creating a dense ground level fog. For greater effects (as seen on television and stage productions), dry ice is used in conjunction with a ‘pea souper’ fog machine. Fog machines can be hired or rented from many companies trading under Disco Equipment Hire. Dry ice creates stunning visual fog effects at weddings, Halloween, birthday parties and in pubs and nightclubs.

Storage and Transportation

Dry ice enables products ranging from foodstuff to medical samples and vaccines to remain cold without the need of expensive refrigerated vehicles. By simply packing dry ice around the produce within suitably insulated containers gives customers a safe and economical way of transportation and delivery. Similarly for storage, perishable goods and produce can be packed into thermal containers with dry ice placed on top of the product and then closed alternatively, for short term emergency bulk storage dry ice can be suspended at height (in a cradle or on a tray) at the top of the container so as the dry ice sublimes the CO² vapour falls onto the products keeping them chilled.

Temperature Controlled Product Distribution

Delivering consistent and robust temperature control, Dry ice allows for the storage and distribution of products by ambient temperature couriers without the need for using dedicated , mechanically refrigerated transport assuring delivery in the best possible condition at minimal cost.

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