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How to Set Up a Dry Ice Ethanol Bath

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Scientists use dry ice ethanol baths to quickly cool mixtures to freezing. They also use the baths to freeze sections of tissues for microscopic studies and to stimulate the precipitation of genetic material or proteins. Take care to prepare dry ice ethanol baths appropriately to avoid safety risks.

Break the dry ice into smaller pieces suitable for transferring into your rubber or stainless steel container. Wear gloves while doing this.

Place the dry ice into the container.

Pour the ethanol solution into the container. Add only enough solution to completely cover the dry ice. Don't splash the liquid. The ethanol solution will begin to boil. The boiling will slow down as it cools off.

Tip

The solution may contain 70 percent to 100 percent ethanol when it is used for stimulating the precipitation of genetic material or proteins.

Always wear gloves when handling dry ice and ethanol.

If more of the ethanol solution or dry ice is needed in bath, wait until the boiling slows down before adding more.

Warning

Do not use a plastic container to hold a dry ice ethanol bath. Plastic containers, including high performance plastic containers, may eventually degrade and crack, causing the ethanol to leak out.

If the ethanol solution comes into contact with your skin, it may burn you.

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Liana Thomas began writing professionally in 2008. She has written for various websites, specializing in arts, entertainment and media topics. Thomas studied literature with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

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