Experimental and theoretical investigation of the dry ice sublimation temperature for varying far-field pressure and CO2 concentration

Abhishek Purandare*, S. Vanapalli*, Wouter Verbruggen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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Solid carbon dioxide, also known as dry ice, is extensively used in various applications, such as cleaning large telescopes, refrigeration, spray cooling, and biological processes like cryopreservation. In standard atmospheric conditions, dry ice sublimates continuously because the triple point pressure of carbon dioxide is higher than the atmospheric pressure. While the sublimation temperature of dry ice at atmospheric pressure is widely reported in the literature to be approximately −78.5 ∘C, this value is only conditionally true as it refers to dry ice exposed to an ambient saturated with its vapor. In reality, dry ice is mainly utilized in an unsaturated atmosphere. This study investigates the effect of the atmosphere on the sublimation temperature of a dry ice sphere, both experimentally and theoretically. Specifically, the far-field pressure is varied from 0.6 bar to 1.3 bar in steps of 0.1 bar, and the far-field CO 2 concentration is varied from 100%vol to 0%vol in steps of 20%vol. The results show that the sublimation temperature reduces and reaches a lower thermodynamic wet-bulb temperature when the far-field CO 2 concentration is lowered from the previously set value at a given ambient pressure. The lowest value of the sublimation temperature, for the ambient pressure of 1 atm and 0%vol CO 2 concentration, is measured to be −97.3 ∘C, which deviates from the commonly quoted value in the literature by approximately 19 ∘C. Finally, the results are presented in the form of an extended phase diagram showing the solid-vapor coexistence line for various far-field CO 2 concentrations in comparison to the standard coexistence line present on the phase diagram. A mathematical model that considers heat and mass transport phenomena in the surroundings of a dry ice sphere is developed, and its predictions are found to be in encouraging agreement with the experimental results. This study provides important insights into the behavior of dry ice under different atmospheric conditions and can be useful in various industrial and scientific applications.

Original languageEnglish
Article number107042
JournalInternational Communications in Heat and Mass Transfer
Early online date23 Sept 2023
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2023


  • Carbon dioxide
  • Dry ice
  • sublimation
  • phase diagram
  • UT-Hybrid-D


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