We are having a party at work, we want to use dry ice as an effect, can we put it into our punch and then drink it? Is it safe?
The first question should be 'what is dry ice'. The so-called dry ice is in fact
solid carbon dioxide (CO2). At room temperature, carbon dioxide sublimates at room
temperature (and pressure), without at all going into the liquid phase (hence the
There is no danger at all in consuming a drink that was cooled down using dry ice -
most of the carbon dioxide will just sublimate into the air. The 'worst' thing that
can happen is, some of the carbon dioxide may dissolve in the drink. If this
happens at high pressures, what you will get is a carbonated beverage (soda).
However, the solubility of carbon dioxide in water is small at room conditions
(that's why your coke bubbles when you open the can) and the 'taste' of carbon
dioxide will not be noticeable at all. In any case, it will work much better than
regular ice, which will eventually melt and water your punch down.
Yasar Safkan, Ph.D., Sofware Engineer, Noktalar A.S., Istanbul, Turkey
Also, this being a party and all, you should be aware of a few basic safety
precautions. Carbon Dioxide is not toxic in itself. However, it will displace
oxygen and if any of your party people stand over the punch bowl and breath in the
vapors for a long period of time they will pass out due to a lack of oxygen. You
may want to be watchful for this. Also, dry ice is VERY cold. If any one holds
it in their hand for a long period of time (As in 'I can hold this longer than
you!') it will cause damage to the skin and underlying tissue.
Tom Young, B.A., Science Teacher, Whitehouse High School
Yes, of course, this question is the equivalent of CAN YOU DRINK COKE... dry ice is
nothing but frozen carbon dioxide, which sublime to form the smoking effect that
you want to see. It's perfectly safe. However, you need to make sure that your dry
ice source is reliable, that no contaminates are in the ice. Though,
theoretically, pure dry ice is perfectly safe. (Though you shouldn't eat it since
it can easily burn you.)
John Brimacombe, Ph.D., Head of physics department at WVSS
'One thing I have learned in a long life: that all our science, measured against reality, is primitive and childlike - and yet it is the most precious thing we have.'