Dry ice

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Source- This post on Dry ice has been created based on the article What is ‘dry ice’, at the centre of the Gurugram restaurant incident? published in “Down to earth” on 5th March 2024.

Why in the news?

Recently, Dry ice mistakenly provided at a party in a Gurugram restaurant caused severe injuries to people’s mouths and food pipes, leading to hospitalization.

About Dry Ice

Dry ice
Source- DownToEarth

1. About: Dry ice is solid carbon dioxide (CO₂) formed by compressing and cooling carbon dioxide gas. 

2. Difference between regular ice and dry ice: Unlike regular ice, which melts into liquid water, dry ice undergoes sublimation, transitioning directly from a solid to a gas without going through a liquid phase. This sublimation process releases large volumes of CO₂ gas.

3. Applications:

i) Dry Ice is commonly used as a cooling agent for food products like ice cream, frozen desserts etc.

ii) Dry ice is also used for applications such as preservation and for creating special effects like fog or smoke.

iii) It also finds use in industrial cleaning processes like dry ice blasting.

4. Hazardous nature:
a. Dry ice can be hazardous if ingested because dry ice sublimates rapidly and when it comes in contact with moisture in the mouth or digestive tract it releases CO₂ gas  which could pose a danger of breathlessness (hypercapnia).
b. It may also cause burns, bloating, vomiting, and even life-threatening complications like stomach or intestinal perforation.

UPSC Syllabus: Science & Technology

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