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What Are Dry Ice Pellets?

While many might recognize dry ice in its block form, its pelletized version might be less familiar. These small, cylindrical pieces of frozen carbon dioxide (CO2) come with distinct attributes and serve a variety of purposes. In this article, we explore the nature, production, and applications of dry ice pellets.


  • Composition: Dry ice pellets consist of carbon dioxide in its solid state.
  • Shape and Size: Typically cylindrical, their sizes can range from 1.5mm (1/16 inch) to 16mm (5/8 inch) in diameter, based on their application.
  • Temperature: Like all dry ice forms, pellets maintain a chilly -78.5°C (-109.3°F).
  • Sublimation: These pellets undergo sublimation, transitioning directly from solid to CO2 gas without residue.

Production Process

Creating dry ice pellets starts with carbon dioxide in its liquid state. This liquid CO2 is pressurized and then undergoes rapid expansion, leading to cooling and partial solidification. The resultant solid CO2 has a snowy consistency. This "snow" undergoes extrusion to shape it into cylindrical pellets. The pellet's size can be tailored according to the extrusion mechanism and its intended application.

Common Uses

  1. Dry Ice Blasting: Primarily, dry ice pellets cater to dry ice blasting. This environmentally conscious cleaning method involves propelling the pellets at high velocities to cleanse surfaces. The immediate sublimation of the pellets upon impact aids in lifting and eradicating contaminants, ensuring a clean surface devoid of wet residue or secondary waste.
  2. Refrigeration: Leveraging their cold temperature and ability for cold dispersion, dry ice pellets refrigerate perishable items, such as foodstuffs or medical supplies, during transportation.
  3. Carbonation: The beverage sector occasionally employs dry ice pellets for drink carbonation.
  4. Fog Effects: Mirroring block dry ice, pellets can craft fog effects in entertainment arenas like theaters or amusement parks.

Safety Considerations

Utilizing dry ice pellets demands caution. Their frosty nature can inflict frostbite upon direct skin contact. Furthermore, their sublimation releases CO2 gas. In confined areas, this could displace oxygen, posing a suffocation threat, underscoring the importance of adequate ventilation.


Dry ice pellets represent a highly versatile incarnation of solid carbon dioxide. Their unique properties, amalgamated with their adaptable shape and size, qualify them for an array of applications, spanning from cleaning to entertainment. Nonetheless, as with every dry ice form, recognizing and adhering to its properties ensures its safe and efficient utilization.

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