Dry ice, an amazing compound to play with, can be hard to manage without proper guidance.
People have a common question about whether dry ice can be stored inside the freezer or not?
The simplest answer is yes but for a limited time. Dry ice is the solid form of gas. The worst part is dry ice gets melted when exposed to air which makes dry ice almost impossible to store. It will take one day to turn five to six pounds of dry ice into gas.
Can I Put Dry Ice in the Freezer?
You can potentially store dry ice in a freezer but only for a limited time. Dry ice is packed ice that is in a gaseous state. Dry ice has a temperature of minus 109.3° F, and since the freezer cannot reach that low, dry ice can also melt in a freezer but at a slower rate.
The freezer also provides warmer air since dry ice has a lower temperature than a freezer, allowing the dry ice to melt fast. If your goal is to store the dry ice for a short time, a freezer should be perfect for this. Coolers are not that effective against dry ice since the dry ice will still melt when stored inside a cooler.
Instead, you can use an airtight container to stop the dry ice from melting. It prevents the dry ice from melting by cutting down the way for the dry ice to melt. Dry ice needs air or heat to melt. There is limited air inside an airtight container, and when the air is used up to melt some of the dry ice inside the container, the dry ice will stop from melting at any point further. This is an effective and cost-efficient way to store dry ice.
What Happens If you Put Dry ice in the Freezer?
Since dry ice is super reactive when it’s left in the open air, it could be a great idea to put the dry ice in a freezer where it will stay cool. At least, that is what everyone thinks, but the reality is different. Dry ice has a relatively low temperature, and by low temperature, I mean -109° F.
A regular freezer cannot keep the dry ice from melting even when the freezer runs at its full potential. The dry ice will still melt, but the freezer will slow dry ice melting. Since the temperature provided by the freezer is warmer than the dry ice, dry ice still melts but slowly.
But there is a risk. Since dry ice is much colder than the temperature provided by the freezer, it might cause the freezer to shut down while running. It might cause your freezer to shut down frequently after you have moved the dry ice out of the freezer.
How Long Can you Keep Dry Ice in the Freezer?
If dry ice is put in large quantities, it can last between a half and a full day. This includes the dry ice to melt since dry ice requires a very low temperature to store without melting. Such temperature cannot be obtained by your house freezer built to increase the longevity of your food stocks.
But under certain circumstances, you can increase it to 2-3 days. It is recommended to store the dry ice in a cardboard box. A cardboard box will work as an airtight container for your dry ice and stop it from reacting with the airflow inside the freezer. But do remember that it is a risky step to store dry ice for that long since the sudden temperature change inside the freezer will trigger your compressor and shut down your freezer.
Even though your freezer can be used to store dry ice for 3 days, it is best to store it for a few hours for the safety of your freezer.
Will Dry ice Explode in the Fridge?
Yes, dry ice can explode in the fridge. It is not because dry ice is reactive when it comes into contact with air, but mainly because of the gas it creates. Dry ice is solid carbon dioxide, and when it reacts with air, the gas is released into the surrounding. Since the freezer is a closed container, the gas will build up and might cause the freezer to explode.
The problem can be easily solved by covering the dry ice with paper. A paper or a cardboard box can be used as an airtight container to stop the dry ice from melting. Using a cardboard box will also make the dry ice last longer inside the fridge.
How Long Will Dry ice last in a Styrofoam Cooler?
A regular styrofoam cooler can store the dry ice for up to 1 or 2 days. Much like any regular cooling, a styrofoam cooler is also used as a portable cooler to keep things hot or cold for a longer period.
I would recommend buying a large styrofoam cooler if it is available in your area. What a large styrofoam cooler would do is it can store more dry ice.
Since more dry ice is packed in a space, it will allow the other dry ice blocks to stay cool. You can increase the longevity of your dry ice by covering it with newspaper. A newspaper will work as an airtight for your dry ice.
Dry ice indeed took the world like a storm. Dry ice is an amazing creation of science. It shows how much science has improved over the past thousands of years and how versatile dry ice can be. Dry ice can be used as a picture effect or during Halloween parties to create smoke. Dry ice is more or less used almost everywhere, including for food, cool experiments, and learning.