Dry Ice in Icebox? Not a good idea - Fiberglass RV


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Old 07-29-2018, 10:08 PM   #1
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Dry Ice in Icebox? Not a good idea

I've said this for awhile- a few pounds of Dry Ice (solid CO2) is enough to kill you in a small trailer.

https://q13fox.com/2018/07/28/mother...-ice-accident/
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Old 07-30-2018, 09:11 AM   #2
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Not only that, but it can literally destroy the plastic inside your trailer's fridge as well. In fact, many "economy" ice coolers will also be ruined by contact with dry ice. Some of the newer, high-dollar coolers, (like Yeti and a few others out there,) can tolerate dry ice, but read the manual that came with your cooler. Most will tell you not to use dry ice in them. As Bobbie mentioned, never use or store dry ice in an enclosed space. Also being heavier than air, it will settle in low spots and displace any air in that area. (If you ever seen any of the old horror movies with the low creeping fog along the ground, it was created with liquid CO 2, which is the same stuff, just in liquid form as opposed to a frozen state.
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Old 07-30-2018, 10:35 AM   #3
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Paul's old job used to use dry ice in coolers to shrink metal parts sufficiently to get a very snug fit...they would get the coolers 2nd hand (or much older, if possible for free) because using them with the dry ice ruined them. So Paul can vouch for that.


Didn't know dry ice was CO2 and that the mist was deadly...makes it even creepier.


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Old 07-30-2018, 11:27 AM   #4
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I think styrofoam coolers are used for dry ice (frozen CO2)
Our son sent us a couple of live lobsters that way.
When you order meat from Omaha Steaks, it comes frozen in a styrofoam chest, with dry ice.
The dry ice needs to be inside a sealed plastic pouch, so the CO2 gas does not come in contact with the food. One time, someone used it to cool a watermellon. The result was carbonated watermellon. Tasted terrible!
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Old 07-30-2018, 12:31 PM   #5
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I think styrofoam coolers are used for dry ice (frozen CO2)
Our son sent us a couple of live lobsters that way.
When you order meat from Omaha Steaks, it comes frozen in a styrofoam chest, with dry ice.
The dry ice needs to be inside a sealed plastic pouch, so the CO2 gas does not come in contact with the food. One time, someone used it to cool a watermellon. The result was carbonated watermellon. Tasted terrible!
Dry ice in a sealed plastic pouch will not remain sealed very long. It sublimates, producing CO2, which will either leak out of the plastic or blow it up. It is an interesting way to make carbonated water (or watermelons).

Back when I was doing Technical Theatre for a living, one of the methods used to make fog was a rumble pot - a 55 gallon drum with a couple of water heater elements to boil about 1/2 a tank of water. 25 - 50 pounds of dry ice was broken into 3-4 pound chunks, tossed in a hardware cloth basket and lowered into the boiling water. The result was piped through dryer hose to the stage. The name comes from the noise it made when the dry ice hit the water.

We did a production of Dracula where the final scene took place in the orchestra pit at the front of the stage. The first time we fired off the CO2, the effect was great, but the candle in the lantern one of the actors was holding went out. We added venting to drain off the CO2 fast enough to prevent the problem, but it was interesting that 50 pounds of dry ice could make enough CO2 to fill a space 40' X 20' to a depth of 4'...

The modern method of making stage fog is to use liquid nitrogen to supercool the output of standard glycol based theatrical smoke machines.

By the way, CO2 is not poisonous, but it does displace the air since it is heavier. Your breathing rate is controlled by the CO2 level, so if you find yourself panting around it, it is time to get to fresh air!
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Old 07-30-2018, 01:09 PM   #6
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...By the way, CO2 is not poisonous, but it does displace the air since it is heavier. Your breathing rate is controlled by the CO2 level, so if you find yourself panting around it, it is time to get to fresh air!
That was puzzling me about the news account. They were apparently driving in a vehicle when they were rendered unconscious by the CO2 build-up. I was surprised they didn't notice something was wrong and get out of the car.

Thanks for the interesting post, Jon!
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Old 07-30-2018, 01:15 PM   #7
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That was puzzling me about the news account. They were apparently driving in a vehicle when they were rendered unconscious by the CO2 build-up. I was surprised they didn't notice something was wrong and get out of the car.

Thanks for the interesting post, Jon!
I was surprised as well. I often carried 200 - 300 pounds of dry ice in a van from the supplier to the theatre (about 35 miles) in very leaky 2'x2'x6' ice chests made of 2" styrofoam. I did leave the rear windows cracked, but never reached a CO2 level high enough to notice. They must have had a well sealed vehicle.
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Old 07-30-2018, 10:33 PM   #8
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I've said this for awhile- a few pounds of Dry Ice (solid CO2) is enough to kill you in a small trailer.

https://q13fox.com/2018/07/28/mother...-ice-accident/
Thank you so much for the info. We are going to Georgia in a few weeks and I was thinking of getting dry ice for our ice chest to keep some of the frozen foods frozen longer. This would have been in our tow vehicle. The Lord provides in mysterious ways. I know now not to ever use it. We get small pieces for our ice chest in the summer when we shop for ice cream and frozen foods a couple of hours from our house. I will now rethink this idea again.
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Old 07-31-2018, 07:15 AM   #9
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A friend of mine once added a couple of pounds of dry ice to a twenty pound bag of regular ice in his big igloo cooler to help keep stuff cold during a camping trip to Virginia. His diet Coke froze and then exploded in his cooler - created quite a mess...
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Old 07-31-2018, 09:40 AM   #10
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I was surprised as well. I often carried 200 - 300 pounds of dry ice in a van from the supplier to the theatre (about 35 miles) in very leaky 2'x2'x6' ice chests made of 2" styrofoam. I did leave the rear windows cracked, but never reached a CO2 level high enough to notice. They must have had a well sealed vehicle.
Newer vehicles are much more air-tight than older ones, and if they leaked at the top, the CO2 would mostly stay inside the coolers. The problem with their case was apparently all of it sublimed (which you probably know means goes directly from solid to gas) and the car was airtight. The problem in a small trailer is that the ice box is often sitting higher than bed level, would just as likely leak downwards (at the least, every time it was opened) and depending on how often it was opened without the door opened, could build up. I think it would be a freak accident if someone suffocated that way- but also don't think it is worth the risk. I did the calculations once when someone was planning to do it.

Having said that- I used to get a few small pieces from the lab to take on road trips- I had no AC so windows were open, and I kept ice cream bars cold on the dry ice for the trip.
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Old 07-31-2018, 09:42 AM   #11
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That was puzzling me about the news account. They were apparently driving in a vehicle when they were rendered unconscious by the CO2 build-up. I was surprised they didn't notice something was wrong and get out of the car.

Thanks for the interesting post, Jon!
They don't notice because what's wrong is oxygen deprivation- and it makes brains fuzzy. Same reason you get sleepy if you have no windows open and don't vent with outside air in your car- especially with multiple people in it.
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Old 07-31-2018, 09:43 AM   #12
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On a huge scale, look at the Lake Nyos disaster.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lake_Nyos_disaster
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Old 07-31-2018, 10:36 AM   #13
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They don't notice because what's wrong is oxygen deprivation- and it makes brains fuzzy. Same reason you get sleepy if you have no windows open and don't vent with outside air in your car- especially with multiple people in it.
But it is the build-up of CO2 in the bloodstream that creates the powerful urge to breathe, not the lack of oxygen. That's why it is very difficult to hold your breath until you pass out. I'm having a hard time imagining that a conscious person could miss that.

CO poisoning is different (and much more insidious) because the oxygen deprivation happens without a corresponding increase in CO2 level that creates the bodily awareness that something is wrong.

If I'm misunderstanding something, I'm still listening...
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Old 07-31-2018, 01:40 PM   #14
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You might notice it. Unlikely if sleeping. Not sure why the people in the car didn't.
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