Q: How long will the fog last and how much Dry Ice should I get?
Q: What is Dry Ice?
A: Dry Ice is frozen carbon dioxide, a normal part of our earth’s atmosphere. It is the gas that we exhale during breathing and the gas that plants use in photosynthesis. It is also the same gas commonly added to water to make soda water. Dry Ice is particularly useful for freezing, and keeping things frozen because of its very cold temperature: -109.3°F or -78.5°C. Dry Ice is widely used because it is simple to freeze and easy to handle using insulated gloves.
Q: What is Dry Ice Fog?
A: Dry Ice combined with hot water produces vigorous bubbling water and voluminous flowing fog. For example, with 5 pounds of Dry Ice in 15 to 30 liters of hot water, the greatest amount of fog will be produced the first 5 to 10 minutes. There will be far less fog for the next 5 to 10 minutes as the water cools down and the volume of Dry Ice diminishes. As the water cools, the fog becomes wispier. Dry Ice makes fog because of its cold temperature, immersed in hot water, creates a cloud of true water vapor fog. When the water gets colder than 10°C, the Dry Ice stops making fog, but continues to sublimate and bubble. The fog will last longer on a damp day than on a dry day.
Q: How do I make the fog?
A: For each 15-minute period put 2 to 4 kgs of Dry Ice into 15 to 30 liters of hot water. This will make lots of fog depending upon the temperature of the water and the size of the pieces of Dry Ice. Hotter water will make more fog. Very hot water will add its own rising steam to the vapor cloud. If there is no steam the fog will flow down hill and in the direction of any air movement. A small fan can help control the direction. Smaller pieces of Dry Ice with more surface area produce a greater volume of fog and cool the water down much faster. In both cases the result is more fog for a shorter amount of time. Keep the water hot with a hot plate, electric skillet, or some other heat source to produce fog for a longer time. Otherwise when the water gets too cold it must be replaced to continue the fog effects. If the container is completely filled with water the fog will flow over the sides the best. But the Dry Ice sublimation will vigorously bubble the water and splash it out. Even a ¾ filled container will splash some so place the container where spilled water will not ruin anything. The water vapor fog will also dampen the area it flows across. Be careful because after some time floors do get slippery.
Q: Where can I store Dry Ice until I want to use it?
A: The best container to transport and store Dry Ice is an ice chest or cooler. As a general rule, Dry Ice in a typical ice chest will sublimate at a rate of 1% per hour. Dry Ice changes directly from a solid to a gas – sublimation – in normal atmospheric conditions without going through a wet liquid stage. Have an ice chest or some other insulated container to hold the Dry Ice and slow the sublimation rate. Dry Ice is very cold so use insulated gloves to handle it. Do not store Dry Ice in your refrigerator freezer. The extremely cold temperature will cause your thermostat to turn off your freezer. Do not store Dry Ice in a completely airtight container. The sublimation of Dry Ice to Carbon Dioxide gas will cause any airtight container to expand until a hole opens or it explodes.
Q: Can I put Dry Ice into a pool or Jacuzzi?
A: 50 to 100 pounds of Dry Ice dropped directly into a heated swimming pool will make fog for an hour or longer depending on the water temperature and the size of the Dry Ice pieces. Because of the Jacuzzi's hot water, it makes the most fog the quickest. As long as the water is kept hot, it can take 50 to 100 pounds per hour. The Dry Ice will carbonate the water for several days. If possible drain the Jacuzzi. The swimming pool will read more alkaline during this time so wait to add acid until the carbonation has dissipated. If the temperature of the water in a swimming pool, fountain, waterfall, or birdbath is too cold (less than 60°F) the Dry Ice will bubble but produce much less fog.
Q: Can I add Dry Ice to beverages?
It is OK to put Dry Ice into beverages for drinking as long as the dry ice is food grade. The Dry Ice that I sell IS NOT FOOD GRADE, so this is something that you can do at your own risk. Use 2 to 4 pounds of Dry Ice for each gallon of room temperature punch. Use large pieces of Dry Ice not small pieces. The Dry Ice is heavier than ice and will sink to the bottom. Do not use any regular ice! The Dry Ice will do the cooling and must not be eaten or swallowed. Too much Dry Ice will freeze the beverage so have extra standing by. It will bubble and give off the most fog when the beverage is room temperature. When most of the Dry Ice has sublimated, it will surround itself with ice and float to the top. There is still a small piece of Dry Ice in the center of these ice pieces so do not serve or eat them. Carefully ladle the beverage into drinking glasses without any Dry Ice. Add regular ice to glasses for cooler drinks.