Dry ice has numerous benefits over regular ice. It offers better cooling and doesn’t make a mess when it melts. It’s also lighter than regular ice, making it easier to transport. You can also cut dry ice into longer sliced bars, ice blocks, and smaller ice pellets for different applications.
Due to their granular size and long-term cooling benefits, dry ice pellets are great for dry ice blasting, cold grinding, and more. Here are four unique applications of dry ice pellets that you should know.
1. Airline catering
Airlines are one of the major industries that use dry ice pellets in catering. Dry ice pellets in in-flight catering help keep food cold and frozen until it’s served or prepared. It is beneficial for longer flights where it’s critical to preserve food for longer hours.
Using regular ice to freeze the food items, meat, and ice cream may not work as it isn’t cold enough and also creates a lot of water when it melts. As this isn’t the case with dry ice, it is a better option for airplane catering.
Dry ice pellets are also helpful in putting into smaller containers that are too small for big ice blocks. It saves tons of cost for mechanical refrigerators for airlines.
2. Plant growth
According to NASA, concentrated amounts of carbon dioxide promote photosynthesis. That means the carbon dioxide in dry ice can help to increase plant growth. Dry ice doesn’t turn into water when it melts; it sublimates directly into carbon dioxide.
Hence, putting some dry ice pellets near the plant for a few minutes can promote its growth. Remember to place the dry ice pellets close to the plant and not directly touch it. The super-cold temperature of dry ice can harm the plants.
3. Dry Ice Blasting
Dry ice blasting is one of the major industrial applications of dry ice. Dry ice blast cleaning is one of the environment-friendly cleaning methods used to clean metal surfaces. This method is way more beneficial than traditional methods like sandblasting or high-pressure water cleaning.
The process uses 3mm dry ice pellets introduced in a pressurized air stream that accelerates them at tremendous speed. When these superfast ice pellets hit the cleaning surface, they remove all substances, contaminants, and dirt from the surface and leave it clean and free from abrasion. As the ice pellets immediately turn into gas instead of water, the process leaves no secondary byproduct or wastage.
Freeze-drying is one of the major processes in the food and pharmaceutical industry. It is used to extend the shelf life of food items and pharmaceuticals and preserve them.
Freeze-drying occurs at very low temperatures when the dry ice turns into a gas below the freezing point of water. That means it doesn’t damage the product while dehydrating and doesn’t alter its appearance and taste. It perfectly preserves the nutritious value and the freshness of the food. These food items can last for months and years without any damage.
There are numerous applications for dry ice apart from these. It is actively used in the aerospace industry, food and beverage preservation, meat production and fishing, and many other sectors for impeccable cooling and freezing benefits.