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Dry Ice

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I am really new at this but have found a source for dry ice locally (ok Krogers but the have it and lots), my question is does this stuff break down in the freezer.  My idea is to buy a good amount of it and store it in my chest freezer until Halloween but I don't want to do that if this stuff has a self life.  Thoughts?

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Way back when in Theater- (before the fluid fog machines were reasonable)- we tried storing dry ice for 2 weeks- we noticed that we lost a few pounds off of each 25 pound chunk...

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Nope - Won't work very well; it will all evaporate because of the temperature difference.

 

Also, if you don't have a metal container, it may damage the plastic inside the chest freezer.

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Nope won't work.  The stores that carry it, those are special containers manufactured to keep the dry ice colder than the dry ice is itself.  Your home freezer can't go that low and you will very probably have a big mess on your hands, and if your freezer has a key lock and it's locked, it could, depending on how much you would buy and store, literally blow the freezer apart! :o

 

EDIT: The stores freezers use liquid nitrogen to keep dry ice at or below it's own temperature, not Freon or whatever they use today in "home" refrigerators and freezers.  Used to work in a grocery store and other retail stores that sold dry ice, as well as home appliances.  You just can't keep dry ice in a regular freezer unless it's for when there is no power to the unit, as someone said earlier.

Edited by Orville

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You're best bet to preserve the dry ice is to keep it air tight.  Normally they wrap it in paperbags.  Re-wrap as tight as possible.  Get about 1 1/2 to twice as much as you think you will need as it does evaporate.  I try to get it the night before to keep it from loosing too much mass.

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next question, when Halloween comes does the dry ice go on top of my regular ice or my regular ice on top of it.  There are a few folks on here that use a chiller and have read that they have used both but forgot which first.

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I know others have input here but I can add to it.

 

Try purchasing the day of as it does evaporate.

Purchase a little more than you need.

Keep it wrapped in paper bags but not sealed as it will expand when releasing the gases from evaporation.

Use insulated gloves or a dry towel when handling it or it will burn you.

You can store it in a freezer or ice chest with no mess. it evaporates, not melts.

When using a chiller, I would place the dry ice on top regular ice. This will prolong the coldness of the regular ice thus slower melting and longer lasting. Water dripping on the dry ice will cause the dry ice to melt faster but you do get some fog generated from it if it happens, but you lose the dry ice faster.

 

As far as shelt life?

You usually get it in chunks, pre-cut, that weigh from 3-5 lbs. A brick, if left whole in an ice chest, will take about 18 hours to melt. If you cut it up, it will take maybe 3-5 hours. If you put it in liquid, it will only last from 15-45 mins.

 

Edited by Santas Helper

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A few things first:

 

1. Dry ice will sublimate (turn to gas and go bye-bye) unless (as mentioned) it is kept at it's own freezing point - which is around -110F.   Of course, the colder you store it, the less will sublimate in a given time.   In your average cooler, 25lbs will be gone in a few days in my experience. 

 

2. NEVER use an airtight container for storage.  The sublimating CO2 will build the pressure until something gives, and that "give" can occur with concussive/explosive force.  

 

3. Storing dry ice in your freezer can cause your freezer to shut off.  This could be problematic depending on your freezer, the distribution of your food, etc.

 

 

As far as a fog chiller goes, I use a 32g garbage can with dryer vent hose coiled along the outer perimeter of the can.  The input (from the fog machine) is at ground level, and the output is at the top.  I spray painted the hose with black and rust colored paint to blend it a bit with the surroundings.  I pour 20lbs of dry ice pellets (most places sell block and pelletized dry ice) in between and on top of the coils, and that works just fine, with no need for regular ice and no water to deal with later.   That 20lbs last all Halloween and there's usually plenty left over at the end of the day to entertain the kids with some dry ice experiments. 

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