Dry ice is not quite the same as regular ice and has several unconventional uses. If properly stored, dry ice can last up to 24 hours. This by itself is of great benefit to those of us living in Perth, where the effectiveness of most cooling methods is hampered by the scorching heat in summer.
Whether you’re using some for a science project or keeping your food cold and fresh during a picnic, here are 5 cool uses of dry ice that you can experiment with right at home.
DIY Soft Drinks
Dry ice is carbon dioxide in a solid, frozen form, and since it’s the carbon dioxide in soda that gives it it’s fizz, you can make your own refreshing soft drink if you have some dry ice on hand.
The recipe for 3.5 litres of soft drink calls for:
- 450 grams of white sugar
- 3.5 litres of water
- 30 grams of soft drink concentrate (which can be found in most supermarkets)
- 500 grams to a kilo of food-grade dry ice (depending on how fizzy you want your drink)
First, mix all the ingredients and then add the dry ice last. It is important to make sure that all the dry ice chunks are fully dissolved in the mixture before you consume it.
Carbon dioxide, in its gaseous state, is safe to be consumed. On the other hand, solid carbon dioxide can cause serious harm to your internal organs if ingested. That’s why it’s best to wait for about an hour before you indulge in your homemade soft drink.
Preserve your fruit & vegetables
This is a common use of dry ice, especially when there are food and drinks involved in an outdoor event or road trip, but did you know you can extend the shelf life of fresh produce with dry ice?
When flash frozen, fruits and vegetables retain their original texture and won’t turn soggy when defrosted. Just spread them on a baking tray and then top with another baking tray, then top with a large block of dry ice and place in a cooler until fully frozen. Once frozen, you can move your fresh produce to your regular freezer and store them for as long as you like.
Carbon dioxide attracts annoying insects and mosquitoes, so you can use dry ice as an effective way to lure these pests away from your living spaces. Place them strategically to attract bed bugs away from your bed or hang a cloth bag with a block of dry ice next to a mosquito coil to free yourself of their pesty disturbances.
Remove Floor Tiles
Have you been considering replacing your floor tiles but are running on a tight budget? You can cut down your costs by removing your floor tiles by yourself with some help from dry ice.
Just place large blocks of dry ice on your old tiles and let them sit. After a while, the extreme cold temperature from dry ice shrinks the tiles and breaches the adhesive bond, making them easily removable.
Power a Rocket
This one is for all the kids and geeky science experiment enthusiasts. When dry ice is mixed with water, sublimation (when solid changes to gas without entering a liquid state) takes place. When the same thing happens in a closed container, the process causes a build up in pressure and in turn, causes a mini explosion.
All you’ll have to do is make a hole on top of a water bottle and cover it with scotch tape. Then, fill the bottle with some water and then dry ice until it is half full, close it and quickly position the bottle upside-down and wait for it to launch! Just make sure that you or anyone aren’t standing too close to where this is happening.