Lab: Triple Point of Dry Ice

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Lab: Triple Point of Dry Ice


When a substance undergoes a triple point change, then it goes through all three of the states of matter: solid, liquid, as well as gas. When all three matters exist at the same time, it is extremely rare and an interesting sight to experience. A triple point is defined, specifically, as “ the temperature and pressure at which the solid, liquid, and vapor phases of a pure substance can coexist in equilibrium” (1). An excellent example of a substance that has the ability to obtain a triple point would be dry ice. Dry ice is solid CO2. Dry ice has many uses, which include keeping items frozen for a long period of time. This is because dry ice is simple to freeze, stays cold, and has a temperature of “-109.3°F or -78.5°C” (2).

Dry ice is very useful for food storage. For example, when shipping meat, dry ice is used at the bottom of the container. This will delay the spoilage of the meat. Dry ice can also remove the tiles from on your floors. This is because the tiles will become looser. They loosen because the chill from the dry ice will shrink the tiles, making it easier to move the tile around. Another use is to brand animals such as horses and cattle. The dry ice super freezes the alcohol; making is easy to brand the animals. Another practical use for dry ice is a more medical approach. Doctors use it to freeze of skin imperfections such as warts. Doctors also use it when shipping biological specimens that are used for testing things in the lab. In addition, it can be used as a chemical retardant. A chemical retardant is “ the extent to which a chemical is held back or delayed” (3). Since the dry ice is so cold, its low temperatures slow and sometimes stop the full chemical ...

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...ns. This is related to Gay –Lussac’s Law. This is because temperature is the same thing as kinetic energy, and as the energy rises, the particles within the substance start to rapidly collide with one another, and they exert increased pressure. This law is written out as: .

Something that I found interesting in this lab was that the fog type substance at the end of the explosion. This was the as given off from the triple point of the dry ice explosion. The fog lingered for about a minute, then vanished. It stayed on top of the water, and if one put there hand over it, it would move around like smoke.

Dry ice is not only used in labs to observe the triple point, but also in real life, as mentioned before. It can be used as meat storage, tile shrinker, shipping test tubes, wart remover, chemical retardant, and many more amazing uses.

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