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Old 25th March 2004, 11:28 AM   #1
Johnny Pneumatic
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Swallowing Dry Ice

If someone swallowed a Dry Icecube what would happen?
going to die; right?
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Old 25th March 2004, 11:46 AM   #2
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As long as they really swollow and don't just hold it in thier mouth the results are not going to be good. Probabaly a combiantion of burns to the throat and gut ruptures caused by the solid expanding into a gas. Whether this would be fatal depends on the normal factors.

Why do you want to know?
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Old 25th March 2004, 12:15 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally posted by geni
Why do you want to know?

Just curious; I was thinking about dry ice and came to "what if you ate it". wouldn't it also freeze the liquids in the stomach?
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Old 25th March 2004, 12:42 PM   #4
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Probably not to any great extent, but I don't have any experience with it. If dry ice is available to you, and you want to know, /don't/ eat it, just drop a chunk of it in a small bowl of room-temperture water. My bet is the water won't freeze. Anything in your stomach should be 'just about' as easy to freeze as water, I would wager.
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Old 25th March 2004, 12:46 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally posted by bewareofdogmas



Just curious; I was thinking about dry ice and came to "what if you ate it". wouldn't it also freeze the liquids in the stomach?
No. Water's specific heat capacity is far higher than that of CO2.
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Old 25th March 2004, 12:53 PM   #6
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For our Halloween parties, we developed a drink that involved a tiny chunk of dry ice in cinnamon schnapps. None of us were stupid enough to try to swallow it in one gulp, though...

Some thoughts, however...if you have your small dry ice cube in water, there quickly will form a layer of regular ice around it...this ice, surrounded by water, of course, is at roughly 0C, 32F. That, you can swallow. The gaseous CO2 is usually shooting out through a small hole (keeping that area from freezing over), and the rate of gas-flow seems (I have not measured this, though) to depend on the size of the chunk of CO2. Perhaps it would be possible to eat a small chunk of dry ice IF it had been allowed to form this protective ice coating, and IF it was small enough not to turn you into a weather-balloon.

So...take a flask or bottle of some sort, half fill it with water at approximately body temperature. Drop your dry ice in and quickly put a balloon over the top. See how much it expands. Then, just open up a warm bottle of soda, put the balloon on it, shake it to see how much the baloon expands for this. Then you can compare eating a bit of dry ice (unknown result to me) with the effect of chugging a carbonated soda (considerably more well known), to decide whether you want to risk it.

Me...I think I'll just sip the soda and watch you do all this other stuff.
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Old 25th March 2004, 12:59 PM   #7
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Does anyone have access to copies of the new england journal of medcine from around 1998-1999?

http://www.darwinawards.com/personal...al2000-25.html
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Old 25th March 2004, 01:00 PM   #8
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Huh.

The figure I found for dry ice's change is 6000 cal / mol, a mole being about 40 grams.

I've found two figures for latent heat of fusion of water, 80 cal / gram and ~100k cal. If the second figure is closer to correct, than the 'no, it wouldn't freeze' is correct.
If the first figure is correct, then dry ice would freeze an amount of water that is roughly the same amount of water by mass.

In any case, remember that that 40 grams of dry ice will try to expand to, what, 22 liters in volume?

[EDIT:]
Just realized that if the first figure is supposed to be 80 BIG Calories, not LITTLE calories, they should roughly agree, and dry ice will freeze no-thing.
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Old 25th March 2004, 01:10 PM   #9
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I'ts a while since I've used the stuff but I think 40g owuld be a fair size pice of dry ice.
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Old 25th March 2004, 01:36 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally posted by geni
I'ts a while since I've used the stuff but I think 40g owuld be a fair size pice of dry ice.
40g of dry ice is a huge chunk.
From by days in the chemistry lab with spare pieces of dry ice left over from putting together a dry ice/isopropanol bath, I know it takes a lot of dry ice to freeze even a realitively small quantity of room temp water. It is, as somebody else pointed, the high heat capacity of water than does it. I think the real health risk would be from burns as it comes into contact with your mouth and throat. Once it reached your stomach (assuming it's fully of liquid) it would probably sublime pretty quickly. Of course, I'd guess the gas pains will be unbearable!
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Old 25th March 2004, 01:42 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally posted by geni
Does anyone have access to copies of the new england journal of medcine from around 1998-1999?

http://www.darwinawards.com/personal...al2000-25.html
Failed to find anything promising searching on the keywords "nitrogen", "cryogenic" or "ingestion" searching back to 1981. Hum... casts a small amount of doubt on the story...

("Ingestion" threw up some interesting things. Some people'll swallow anything...)
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Old 25th March 2004, 01:49 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally posted by Matabiri


Failed to find anything promising searching on the keywords "nitrogen", "cryogenic" or "ingestion" searching back to 1981. Hum... casts a small amount of doubt on the story...

("Ingestion" threw up some interesting things. Some people'll swallow anything...)
Well it is a personal account so it's not supprising that if it isn't true.
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Old 25th March 2004, 01:52 PM   #13
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My brother-in-law has swallowed small chips of dry ice with no ill effect. But I've eaten his mother's cooking, so he must have a cast iron stomach.
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Old 26th March 2004, 03:51 PM   #14
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Tried something similar...

Nothing ill will happen... here's why...

Your body has a high capacity for heat... its mostly water. Added to this the lining in your stomach, mouth, etc. are mostly water. If you swallow fast and it is small, it will not have time to freeze anything on the way down, and your linings and high body temperature will take effect. try cupping your hand, and putting a small amount of water in it, then putting some dry ice. You can leave it in there for several seconds. You can even put the dry ice directly on the skin for several seconds (be careful again). The real difference is if there is enough liquid in your stomach to negate the freezing effectonce the chunk arrives. I do not know the average amount of liquid in an empty stomach.

As proof, all I have is the anecdote that I have eaten a banana that was frozen in liquid N02 for several minutes, then smashed with a hammer (it had only a few second to warm up). I placed a piece in my mouth, bit into pieces, then swallowed. Painful? Slightly, almost as bad as touching a hot lighter. Damaging, not in the least.

*However*, I would not recommend experimentation on any larger a scale than a piece of dry ice about the size of half a small pebble, and try in your mouth for effect. If you move it around constantly, you should have no problem. YMMV, and IANAC.
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Old 26th March 2004, 03:58 PM   #15
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That reminds me...I ate a piece of graham cracker that had been dipped in liquid nitrogen back in high school on Ooh Aah Day. It's been so long I forgot.
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Old 26th March 2004, 06:10 PM   #16
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I'd like to remind the children in the audience, and adults, not to try eating dry ice, or any other substance not intended for human consumption.
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Old 26th March 2004, 06:34 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally posted by Pyrrho
I'd like to remind the children in the audience, and adults, not to try eating dry ice, or any other substance not intended for human consumption.
Aw, dad...!!!!


Um...yeah, he's right.
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Old 26th March 2004, 06:41 PM   #18
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I've worked with dry ice many times in my life and I would add the following.

if you swallowed dry ice. it would go down into the tummy. it may burn the soft tissue on the way down or get stuck by freezing in your throat and really burn.

in your tummy it would float around and become coated with a layer of wet ice except for a small hole spraying the CO2 into your stomach. your tummy would get cold but i don't think it would do damage unless it froze to the wall.

I'm not an MD but I guess the pressure build up would be faster than the pressure release so I guess the tummy could explode or rupture. that is if you don't blech often enough you would burst.




I would listen to uncle Pyrrho and never, never eat dry ice.



Virgil
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Old 26th March 2004, 11:25 PM   #19
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Re: Swallowing Dry Ice

Quote:
Originally posted by bewareofdogmas
If someone swallowed a Dry Icecube what would happen?
going to die; right?
It's possible to swallow a small amout of dry ice mixed with water, or some more appropriate fluid, such as ethanol.

I've done it.

It makes you belch a fair amount.
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Old 27th March 2004, 01:34 PM   #20
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Excessive cold, heat or choking in your throat can stimulate the vagal nerve between your brain and your heart and cause bradycardia and slowing the heart until you pass out, or temporary atrial fibrilation, a usually harmless fluttering of the upper part of the heart that might require a trip to hospital to fix it.

An example of the former was of course President George W. Bush and his pretzel incident.

If you do swallow dry ice, keep upright so it goes down quickly. I wouldn't recommend it, though.
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Old 27th March 2004, 06:09 PM   #21
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Quote:
I've found two figures for latent heat of fusion of water, 80 cal / gram and ~100k cal. If the second figure is closer to correct, than the 'no, it wouldn't freeze' is correct.
The Heat of Fusion for H20 is 80calories/gram.
The Specific Heat of steam and ice are both about .5cal/gm.

Thus, to make Ice Tea quickly, brew at 2x concentration then toss in an equal weight of ice straight from the freezer. Stir until dissolved then enjoy. Forget the dry ice.

-Marty
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Old 27th March 2004, 07:07 PM   #22
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I had a doc use dry ice on a wart once. It died...well the skin blistered and the wart looked pretty burned up. It fell off.

icky
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Old 29th March 2004, 09:48 AM   #23
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At the geek parties I've been to, it was always assumed that death would come from aspyxiation as gaseous CO2 came flowing up the esophagus. For those who dared to put dry ice in their mouths, the emergency plan was to bend over and maybe the pressure would force the particle out.

Something that I did try that I should warn everyone about: do not place water ice that's been cooled with dry ice into your mouth.
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Old 29th March 2004, 11:17 AM   #24
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I think in the stomach the dry ice cube would surround itself with a layer of frozen stomach acids and shoot out gaseous nitrogen. I think it would cause ferocious belching for a while until it completely sublimated. My only question is what kind of damage it would cause to the oesephagus on its way down. I think it takes 30 seconds to reach the stomach so I bet it'd have the time to burn you.

Back in the party days we'd put chunks of dry ice in a bowl of water and have us some smoke, and eventually the chunk would surround itself with ice.
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Old 11th April 2004, 05:48 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally posted by (S)
If dry ice is available to you, and you want to know, /don't/ eat it, just drop a chunk of it in a small bowl of room-temperture water. My bet is the water won't freeze.
Having done this myself, I can tell you that basically, a thin layer of water ice forms around the dry ice. Most of the water will not freeze. Of course, results may be different depending on the relative amounts of water and dry ice.
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