Here’s an easy way to make dry ice and home using only a paintball tank!
Hack-A-Minute’s are videos on tips, tricks and life hacks in exactly one minute!
I was inspired by Grant Thompson’s video “How to make Dry Ice”
His method used a CO2 fire extinguisher, but I’ve discovered you can also use paintball CO2 tanks — something a bit easier to acquire!
So how does it work?
CO2 only exists as a liquid under extreme pressures. When the tank is open, the liquid quickly expands into a gas, and due to ideal gas law (http://chemed.chem.wisc.edu/chempaths/GenChem-Textbook/The-Ideal-Gas-Equation-935.html) this causes a huge temperature change due to the change in volume and pressure. This sudden expansion of gas super cools the hose, fittings, and bag, and as more liquid CO2 comes out, some of it will crystallize into dry ice because of the cool surfaces it passes.
As you can imagine, this method is not very effective — in fact, you will only get about 1/3rd the weight of CO2 out of the bottle and into dry ice. I am working on a small DIY machine that can harvest over 70% of the CO2 from the bottle into dry ice — it’s not quite done yet though so stay tuned!
At my local paintball arena you can get any size tank refilled for about $3. This isn’t a super cheap way to make dry ice, but it is convenient and easy to do! If you need a lot of dry ice I would recommend buying it from a supply store where you can get it for around $1-2/lb.
I’m also looking at making a portable SNOW GUN which you’ll be able to make yourself to blast real snow on any occasion!
If you’re looking for some fun things to do with dry ice, check out another one of Grant Thompson’s great videos: 5 Awesome Tricks & Pranks With Dry Ice
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