Jump to content

storing Dry Ice


Recommended Posts

Hi, I was wondering how people store dry ice?


we're doing a production of champion of paribanou and using dry ice, granted it is only for about 45 seconds of the show however we need to keep the dry ice for a week, we have a freezer but just a domestic chest freezer, I could be saying this and be completely wrong about keeping it in a freezer, im quite new to it all, I have used dry ice before but not had to worry about storing it, it was just in a chiller pack thing and used it straight from that, sooo any help would be useful


also for about 4 performances and 4 runs each with about 1 min constant dry ice, how much would we need? the supplier I've found does it in 10K bags (although it works out cheaper at 20K?????


any help would be greatly recived!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Replies 46
  • Created
  • Last Reply

The best way of storing Dry Ice is in a domestic chest freezer, I would however you over estimate the amount you need as it has a very limited shelf life even in a freezer - if you think you need 10Kg order 40Kg and keep it.


Either that or plan 2 deliveries 1 at the beginning of the week 20Kg, and then another delivery on Wednesday for the rest of the week


Usual Health & Safety wear gloves when using Dry Ice, don't try and lick it etc.. etc...


Oh yeah and no dry ice bombs



Link to comment
Share on other sites

thats good to know, but now the question is how much would I need??


That really depends on how much effect you are producing I know you say that it's only for I minute, but that could be 1minute of a gentle flow or 1 minute of dense low level fog


I would suggest you do some tests to answer that question and then multiply it by the amount of nights and then probably double it if you plan to make 1 order and store it



Link to comment
Share on other sites

The best way of storing Dry Ice is in a domestic chest freezer......






Sorry if that's what you meant to say, DC FX, but I felt it needed making VERY clear!!

However, I would certainly agree that using an already broken freezer is ideal, as has been discussed in the BR befor back to the OPe - just make sure that ALL the space in the freezer is occupied with insulation material - ice + air = more chance of evaporation.




Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thank you tony for your outspoken words!!


Personally I have never had any problems with storing dry ice in a domestic freezer and I think I've done my fair share of dry ice effects, and being that the OP is only using it for a week I can't imagine any serious problems


If tony has had other experiences using domestic freezers I'm sure he'll share them with you


In my experience you'll be fine!



Link to comment
Share on other sites

Sorry, but this is BAD advice!

I have indeed seen the effects on domestic freezers when dry ice is stored - do a search on the BR for dry ice and I think you'll find others who would agree with my assessment! I've been using CO2 for almost 30 years and would never recommend using domestic white goods in this way.


That might sound outspoken, but when you consider the potential cost of your advice wrecking someone else's home freezer (and everything else in it!!) I think you might appreciate why!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yep, I'd certainly agree. A freezer that's already broken is good, because of its insulation, but a working one won't like it at all.


When I did Les Mis we had a massive dry ice machine and we were using about 15kg per night for the suicide scene - 15kg got us about 4-5 minutes, from memory. We were getting daily deliveries though, so no worries about it subliming away. BOC will deliver daily, we were looking at dry ice for panto and it was going to cost us £10 for 10kg including delivery, I think.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Can you store it in a conventional home freezer?

Yes, but ONLY if you don't run it! You would wreck the freezer. A chest freezer would be better, BUT don't put your head in, ever. Double insulated chests can be hired for not much cash, try local hire shops or CO2 suppliers. Someone (Ynot?) has mentioned this recently, there must be another similar thread around...


I most certainly did - try the local scrap yard, get an old kn@ckered chest freezer - half size is best - pack out the bottom with newspaper or polystyrene, removing AS MUCH AIR as possible then store the CO2, wrapped in sack cloth, and pack it with more newsprint/polystyrene. The more air you leave in the chest, the quicker it will evaporate. However, we had, IIRC, 4 or 5 packs on a Friday afternoon, packed it as above, and used it in panto for Friday night, 2 shows on saturday and two on Sunday, and I think we had some left at the end.



Because it won't be a working freezer for long!!


Another source, by the way, is Univar at Coventry. They're only up the road from us, so pretty convenient. Looking at their web site, they have depots around the country.


Hope this helps


As suggested here is some information on a previous thread, I think even Tony will agree as above that a DOMESTIC CHEST FREEZER is absolutely suitable for your needs, there is a question as to wether it being turned on or not is an option.


In my personal opinion I don't see why it is a problem, and let me clarify this by saying that when I have stored it I have used the polystyrene box/container that it comes in put it straight into the freezer, which WAS turned on.


If anyone has any technical reason in why it shouldn't be turned on I would be very interested to know so as to not give any false information - which is why we are all here.


Being that all domestic freezers have a thermostatic control to keep everything at that correct temperature which will of course cut out if not needed I can't see the problem


There is however an argument that buying a "Knackered" freezer is just as dangerous if not more so, we all know what Stages, Sets are like with people pluging things in and taking things out they shouldn't be. I would also have cause to be concerned about the seals in a "knackered" freezer being suitable - as we all know the resulting emissions given off by Dry Ice Evapouration is CO2, which can be very dangerous in large quantities and confined areas (Small Stages or back rooms with a leaky "knackered" Freezer )



Link to comment
Share on other sites

My understanding - and I should say that it has been over 20 years since I studied thermodynamics - is that it's not good for a domestic freezer :blink:


Dry ice is around -78C


Domestic freezers are not designed to operate anywhere near this temperature.


Domestic refrigerants (eg freon and it's replacements) liquefy at about -30 or -40 degrees at atmospheric pressure. Higher when pressurised.


If they were to be cooled down to dry ice temp, it is conceivable that the pressurised refrigerant would liquefy, or become more viscous, and would not circulate - I doubt whether it would actually freeze.


Of course, the compressor wouldn't be turning because the thermostat is saying "already cold enough"


But, I'd guess that when the dry ice was removed, it's possible that the thermostat might try to start the compressor, but the refrigerant would not yet have warmed up enough to circulate. As a secondary function of the refrigerant is to lubricate and cool the compressor, you'll cook the compressor...


Just a guess :** laughs out loud **:



Link to comment
Share on other sites

The story may also be related to domestic FRIDGE/FREEZERS rather than

simple freezers. Some of these have a dual compressor setup, but many of the budget ones have a single compressor for both units, so the likelihood of the compressor running while the freezer stat saying "very cold here" is much higher.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Dry Ice is colder than domestic fridges are designed to cool their contents to. The dry ice absorbs heat from the fridge, not the other way around!


We have a couple of data sheets on dry ice available on our website. Go to www.gradav.co.uk and visit the safety data page.


Always take care when handling Dry Ice

Link to comment
Share on other sites

wow, didnt mean to start a fight, I think I may look into hwo much it would cost to get it daily then!


it is only a small space, and we're using a pea souper so it shouldnt take that much!

Link to comment
Share on other sites



Having spent the past 30-40 mins googling within government or government recommended websites it seems that alot of American sites suggest using Dry Ice as a means to save stored food in case of an emergency i.e. Power Failure, Hurricanes (using power can be dangerous) etc..


This (to me) suggests that there is no real cause for alarm when the freezer decides to start back up again, it also does not specify that you must reduce or discard the Dry Ice as soon as the Freezer is back up and working, in some cases it states that it is a good way of keeping everything frozen until the freezer is back to temperature


Make your own decision?


Here are a few sites


New York State


Iowa University


National Weather Service Las Vegas

Link to comment
Share on other sites


This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.