Dry Ice in cooler for long trips

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Dry Ice in cooler for long trips

Postby Mike-n-Britney » Fri Jul 02, 2010 4:07 pm

The Wifey and I will be taking the SS for a week-long camping trip in Colorado. We have a pretty good cooler (Igloo MAX Cool) that keeps things nice and cold. On a Fri-thru-Sun trip two weeks ago to South Texas, in 100 degree heat, we had to run to the store Saturday evening to get more ice. Plus, the one down-side to this cooler, there's no drain on it so we had to bail out the water.

I noticed last night at the grocery store, they had dry ice for sale. How long would a block of dry ice last in a cooler at these ambient temps? Would it get too cold in the cooler (freeze the food)? Could you put both dry ice and wet (sic) ice in the cooler at the same time?

I'm hoping this will be an economic alternative to a thousand dollar, 12vdc fridge with multiple deep cycle batteries, and charging woes - all just to keep some cold drinks, a keep simple foods from spoiling....
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Postby madjack » Fri Jul 02, 2010 6:44 pm

...dry ice is 110 degrees below 0...it requires special precautions to handle since it will "burn" you if handled with bare hands and it outgasses CO2...put in a cooler with food stuffs, it will freeze 'em up solid...put inna cooler which will be opened and closed regularly will result in it sublimating(melting) fairly quickly...there are uses for it which includes transporting frozen foods but it really doesn't work very well for daily use....................
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Postby starleen2 » Sat Jul 03, 2010 8:48 am

Interesting :thinking:
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Postby Toytaco2 » Sat Jul 03, 2010 12:27 pm

I tried this idea one time. It didn't freeze the food (not in the cooler long enough). But, some of the food, fresh grapes I remember in particular soaked up the carbon dioxide. They tasted a lot like very cold grape soda. That "carbon burn" to the tongue was present in all of the fresh food.

I'll never use it again except maybe to transport frozen foods.

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Postby Martini » Sat Jul 03, 2010 2:56 pm

I've heard that if it's touching the inside of a plastic cooler it can make the plastic so cold it gets brittle and will crack. I've not tried it myself so I can't vouch for it but it sounds plausible to me.

:thinking:
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Postby Ratkity » Sat Jul 03, 2010 5:01 pm

Before I started doing admin work, I worked in labs for 17 yrs.

I broke a composite laboratory sink playing with dry ice once... oops! Sink prolly had a crack in it to begin with :thinking: LOL.

So yes, experience has taught me that you can break plastic easily with it (depends on temperature extremes).

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Postby Mike-n-Britney » Tue Jul 06, 2010 9:28 am

madjack wrote:...it requires special precautions to handle... put in a cooler with food stuffs, it will freeze 'em up solid... put inna cooler which will be opened and closed regularly will result in it sublimating(melting) fairly quickly...there are uses for it which includes transporting frozen foods but it really doesn't work very well for daily use...


Toytaco2 wrote:...It didn't freeze the food (not in the cooler long enough) ... That "carbon burn" to the tongue was present in all of the fresh food... I'll never use it again except maybe to transport frozen foods.


From what I've read, you can wrap it in newspaper to protect your cooler, and if you start with frozen foods, it will last quite a long time. It will take us two days to get to Colorado (stopping in Albuquerque). Most of the foods I'm worried about can be frozen (meat particularly) - the rest of the foodstuffs we take either don't need to be cold, or it won't hurt them to freeze.

My plan: A) put everything in the freezer the day before we head out. B) stop at the grocery store to get dry ice the night before we leave (~10:00pm). C) pack to cooler. D) hit the road in the morning (~6:00am). E) when we get to Durango, buy wet ice and head to the camp site.

(besides... if I break the cooler, it will be an excuse to buy a Coleman Stainless Steel cooler...)
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Postby madjack » Tue Jul 06, 2010 10:41 am

M&B, your plan is sound...dry ice works best when used to keep frozen food frozen for an extended periods...the dry ice will probably come in some sort of wrapper and that would be sufficient protection for anything but bare skin...if you wish maximum cooling, be sure and leave cooler closed and using some sort of sealing tape(duct, box, etc) put a wrap or two around the opening of the cooler...
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Postby caseydog » Tue Jul 06, 2010 11:38 am

madjack wrote:using some sort of sealing tape(duct, box, etc) put a wrap or two around the opening of the cooler...
madjack 8)



BOOM. Nobody will get hurt, but it might scare the pee out of the wifey.



I tried dry ice once, and it was a waste of money. And, it will turn to gas quickly if you open and close the cooler.

I would just plan to replace your regular ice on a regular basis. It only takes a few minutes.

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Postby Ratkity » Tue Jul 06, 2010 11:58 am

caseydog wrote:
madjack wrote:using some sort of sealing tape(duct, box, etc) put a wrap or two around the opening of the cooler...
madjack 8)



BOOM. Nobody will get hurt, but it might scare the pee out of the wifey.

CD


In the lab on a boring day, we'd seal dry ice pellets in eppendorf tubes and hide them in people's desks. Eppendorf tubes are tiny little plastic tubes with snap caps attached. It wouldn't take long for the pellet to turn to gas and POP! I would suspect the cooler would make a bigger bang unless you unplugged the drain hole for ventilation.

If, by chance, you use the duct tape method.. can you please have the video camera ready? I bet that one would go viral in youtube in short order!!

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Postby Mike-n-Britney » Tue Jul 06, 2010 12:07 pm

caseydog wrote:BOOM. Nobody will get hurt, but it might scare the pee out of the wifey.

I tried dry ice once, and it was a waste of money. And, it will turn to gas quickly if you open and close the cooler.

I would just plan to replace your regular ice on a regular basis. It only takes a few minutes.


That would be funny....

I think I'm going to try it. The cooler won't be opened until we get to Durango - when we stop to get "wet" ice. I'm just hoping to pack the cooler just before leaving home and keep everything frozen until we get to Durango 36 hours later... At that point it I could care less if it's gone...
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Postby caseydog » Tue Jul 06, 2010 12:27 pm

Ratkity wrote:
caseydog wrote:
madjack wrote:using some sort of sealing tape(duct, box, etc) put a wrap or two around the opening of the cooler...
madjack 8)



BOOM. Nobody will get hurt, but it might scare the pee out of the wifey.

CD


In the lab on a boring day, we'd seal dry ice pellets in eppendorf tubes and hide them in people's desks. Eppendorf tubes are tiny little plastic tubes with snap caps attached. It wouldn't take long for the pellet to turn to gas and POP! I would suspect the cooler would make a bigger bang unless you unplugged the drain hole for ventilation.

If, by chance, you use the duct tape method.. can you please have the video camera ready? I bet that one would go viral in youtube in short order!!

Hugs,
Ratkity


A clever little party favor is a few chips of dry ice dropped into a condom and tied shut. :twisted:


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Postby Martini » Tue Jul 06, 2010 12:57 pm

I do hope we get a report on how this works out.
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Postby caseydog » Tue Jul 06, 2010 1:03 pm

Martini wrote:I do hope we get a report on how this works out.


Well, the condom fills with gas and get's REALLY huge.... oh, do you mean the cooler?


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Postby Martini » Tue Jul 06, 2010 1:53 pm

caseydog wrote:
Martini wrote:I do hope we get a report on how this works out.


Well, the condom fills with gas and get's REALLY huge.... oh, do you mean the cooler?


CD :lol:


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