The history of dry ice

What is dry ice? How did it start? When was it first discovered? Keep reading until the end of the article to find out!

Written Thursday, by Emanuele Mortarotti

Welcome back to Dispotech blog, your disposable excellence. Today, based on an article published on, we talk about dry ice - one of our customers' most popular products.

What is dry ice? How did it start? When was it first discovered? Keep reading until the end of the article to find out!


In a nutshell, dry ice is the frozen form of carbon dioxide, which is exhaled by humans and is essential for plant life and health. Dry ice is very cold with an average temperature of -109.3 degrees Fahrenheit (about -625 degrees Celsius). Also, it is considered an “unusual solid” because it transforms directly into gas - not a liquid - during the sublimation process.

Most scientific authors have identified the French chemist Charles Thilorier as the first scientist to have discovered the dry ice phenomena. In 1835, the scientist was observing a metal cylinder containing a large quantity of liquid carbon dioxide, waiting for it to evaporate. Once it evaporated, there was a block of dry ice at the base of the cylinder. Prest Air Devices, which later became DryIce Corporation of America, was the first company to market dry ice in the United States of America: in 1925, the company built a factory which sold dry ice to the railways to keep train cars cool.

Nowadays dry ice is obtained by releasing pressurised liquid carbon dioxide in special expansion chambers. Once released, the liquid carbon dioxide turns into gas and the temperature drops suddenly. About half of the liquid is transformed into "flakes" of dry ice, which are then pressed together, forming actual blocks of dry ice.

Dry ice has been used for many scientific and commercial  purposes - including the film and entertainment industry. For instance, it can be placed in hot water to simulate a fog effect!

However, it is mainly used in the medical and/or sports profession for traumas or to provide immediate relief following contusions or minor injuries. It is no coincidence that Dispotech dry ice is one of our most popular products!


Do you use it? Did you know how it is produced and when it was discovered? Have your say, by contacting Dispotech!

Emanuele Mortarotti
Author Emanuele Mortarotti


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