It’s white and it’s certainly cold. Dry ice comes in a powder or a block form and can be easily recognized by its mysterious aura of “the fog” it releases and its ability to vanish as if it never existed. Over the years, dry ice has become a common resource for preserving perishable food products during their distribution.
It has many features that make it ideal for this purpose, but on the other hand, it also has a handful of serious drawbacks that we need to be aware of if we want to use it safely. That’s why we would like to introduce to you our excellent alternative: frozen cold packs.
What is dry ice?
Carbon dioxide. It is as simple as that. Dry ice is obtained by freezing carbon dioxide, CO2 gas at -78.5°C, which turns into a carbon snow, and by compressing this snow you get solid pieces, usually in the form of pellets.
Dry ice is highly appreciated in the perishable food industry due to its high cooling capacity: 152 kilo frigories/kg. Moreover, it is colourless, odourless, tasteless, and non-toxic. Its sublimation (“melting”) leaves no residue, only a gas that vanishes completely.
Can dry ice be dangerous?
Dry ice plays an important role in the transport of deep-frozen products, but it has certain inherent risks that cannot be overlooked. The disadvantages of dry ice stem from the handling difficulties associated with its use, which can be truly dangerous. Here are the three most relevant ones:
- Risk in its handling. Due to its low temperature, it must be handled with gloves, glasses, and great caution, as it causes cold burns.
- Risk to the product: What happens if it accidentally comes into contact with the product we are transporting? It will most likely burn it. In fact, it is not suitable for refrigerated products or products that are not deep-frozen.
- Risk of suffocation. The first commercial use of carbonic snow was in fire extinguishers because of its extinguishing capacity: it displaces oxygen as it is heavier. Therefore, its high concentration in closed environments (basements, warehouses, of course vehicles) can cause fainting and even asphyxiation.
- Explosion risk – could it explode? It sounds hard to believe, but it is possible. This gas tends to expand greatly as it sublimates; if placed in an airtight, unventilated container, it generates high pressure that could cause the container to burst.
Cold packs as a safe alternative
If you are hesitating to use dry ice because of the factors mentioned above, you can switch to other methods. Cold packs, for refrigeration or freezing, as the case may be, are undoubtedly the most efficient among all. Cold packs are filled with a liquid or eutectic gel suitable for different temperature ranges: chilled, frozen, room temperature, etc… There are various eutectic points available for the inserted gel and their high calorific value makes them very efficient in their specific working range. The cold packs are fully functional even in case of the most delicate perishable food products.
Tempack provides a wide range of cold packs. Depending on the distribution model you can choose from flexible and rigid cold packs. Our cold packs can be reused even up to 2 years. Especially, rigid cold packs due to its high robustness. Rigid cold packs are highly valued in reusable packaging solutions, while flexible cold packs are recommended for single use deliveries.
Made to fit
Are you looking for a passive cooling solution for your business? We at Tempack would be happy to assist you with that.