How to Use Dry Ice to Cool a Room

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Dry ice is the solid state of carbon dioxide. Unlike ice that is made of water molecules, dry ice does not transition from solid to liquid upon warming. On the contrary, dry ice transitions directly from solid to gas. Dry ice can be obtained at most local supermarkets and home goods stores. Air conditioning systems can break down on days when it is very hot and you have no other cooling alternative. In such a situation, using dry ice as a temporary cooling solution is effective.

Things You'll Need

  • Small electric fan
  • Shallow bowl
  • Place three small pieces of dry ice in a shallow bowl, with each piece of dry ice no larger than one inch cubed.

  • Place the bowl in front of a small electric fan.

  • Turn the fan on so that the air blows over the top of the bowl of dry ice. The dry ice will transition or sublimate into very cold carbon dioxide gas. The gas will absorb the heat from the warm air pushed out of the fan. The cool air will then circulate around the room.

Tips & Warnings

  • Using dry ice is not a long term solution due to the high cost of dry ice.
  • Make sure to have the room well ventilated. Keep your windows open. Allowing the dry ice to turn into carbon dioxide gas in an enclosed room for a long period of time can cause the air to become toxic.

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References

  • "Cool Dry Ice Devices: Fun Science Projects With Dry Ice"; James Hopwood; 2007
  • "Chemistry"; Steven S. Zumdahl and Susan A. Zumdahl; 2006
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