dry ice in a puddle

meghan Ice Types, Ice Uses

dry ice vs. regular wet ice

What’s the difference? What’s the big deal? And how can I use dry ice to make life easier — and a little more fun? Read on, friends! We could get super science-y explaining dry ice and how it differs from regular wet ice, but we’ll keep it simple because we know your time is valuable and because, frankly, we like to keep it chill around here!

what is dry ice?

Dry ice is the solid form of carbon dioxide (CO2), which also happens to be the gas we exhale when we breath.

What’s the difference between dry ice and wet ice?

The main difference between dry and wet ice is that the dry version doesn’t melt like the wet ice that waters down your drink (only if you don’t drink it fast enough!) and leaves your camping cooler heavy and ineffective until you can drain the gallon of water that was left behind.

While we don’t recommend using dry ice to keep your drink cold (unless you’re hosting an epic cocktail hour in a cemetery), there are a ton of reasons why you could consider using dry ice over wet ice… as long as you’re handling with care!

When does dry ice come in handy?

Preserving Food

There are a several instances where dry ice is a great idea for preserving food. Here are a couple:

  • In the event of a power outage, keeping your refrigerator door closed only works for a couple of hours. After that, be ready to start throwing stuff away. Unless you can get your hands on some dry ice! Wrap the dry ice in a newspaper or towel, then place it in your freezer and in the bottom of your refrigerator. Avoid placing it in direct contact with foods, or near cans and bottles… we know all too well what happens to a soda when it freezes. With dry ice in place, all you’ll have to worry about is curling up with a good book or having a riveting conversation with your family via candlelight while you wait for power to be restored.

  • Camping? Roadtripping? Hosting a party and running out of refrigerator space? Keep your food cold in a cooler using dry ice to keep your food cold longer, and to avoid the water weight and mess after the ice melts. Make sure not to seal the cooler, and store it in a well-ventilated space like your garage or patio to avoid gas pressure buildup.

Fun Experiments

science experiment beakers with dry ice filling themThere are a variety of ways to have some good ol’ fashioned family fun while teaching your kids a science lesson at the same time! Dry ice can be used to create special effects fog, a volcano for the school science fair, or to make your own cloud chamber.

A quick Google search reveals a number of science experiments you can do at home with dry ice to pique your kids’ curiosity and interest in science, while making yourself look super smart and cool (see what we did there?) in the process!

Where do I get dry ice?

Being a niche, chemical product there are usually only a few places where dry ice can be found. One is an industrial chemical/gas company like NexAir. There are several NexAir locations around the Mid-South where dry ice can be found. Another option may be your local grocery store. For example, some Kroger locations have dry ice available.

As much as we love a good science experiment at Memphis Ice Machine Company we can only point you in the right direction for dry ice. However should you find yourself in need of good ole wet ice, we’ve got you covered. Reach out to us today with your wet ice needs.