How Long Does Liquid Nitrogen Last in a Dewar: Everything You Need to Know

Have you ever wondered how long liquid nitrogen can last in a dewar? It’s a question that many people might not have thought to ask, but it’s an important one. Liquid nitrogen is a critical component in many scientific processes, and knowing how long it will last can make a significant difference in experimental success. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at just how long you can expect your liquid nitrogen to last in a dewar.

But before we get into that, let’s talk about why liquid nitrogen is so important. It’s used in everything from cryopreservation to food processing. It’s an incredibly useful substance, and it has a wide range of applications. But despite its usefulness, it’s not always easy to keep it at the right temperature. That’s where the dewar comes in. Dewars are specially designed vacuum flasks that are used to store and transport liquid nitrogen. They come in all shapes and sizes, and they’re essential to any lab or facility that uses liquid nitrogen.

So, how long does liquid nitrogen last in a dewar? Well, the answer depends on a few different factors. The first is the quality of the dewar. A well-made dewar will be able to maintain the temperature of the liquid nitrogen for longer periods of time. The second factor is how often the dewar is opened. Every time the dewar is opened, some of the liquid nitrogen will evaporate, which means it won’t last as long. And finally, the amount of liquid nitrogen in the dewar will also play a role. The more there is, the longer it will last. In the next few paragraphs, we’ll delve into each of these factors in more detail and help you figure out just how long your liquid nitrogen will last.

Properties of liquid nitrogen

Liquid nitrogen, also known as LN2, is a colorless and odorless cryogenic liquid that is usually sold and transported in its dewar container. This substance has many unique properties that make it useful for various applications, such as freezing and cooling in the laboratory and medical fields.

  • Boiling point: Liquid nitrogen has a boiling point of -196°C (-320°F) at normal atmospheric pressure. This extreme temperature makes it one of the coldest substances on Earth.
  • Density: The density of liquid nitrogen is 0.807 g/mL at its boiling point, which is lower than water.
  • Purity: LN2 can be produced and stored at a high level of purity, which makes it ideal for many laboratory and medical applications.

In addition to these properties, there are other interesting characteristics that make liquid nitrogen unique. For example, if you pour liquid nitrogen onto a surface, it will immediately turn into a gas and create a fog-like effect. This property is often used at entertainment venues to create special effects.

Furthermore, due to its low temperature, liquid nitrogen can cause severe burns or frostbite if it comes into contact with the skin. Therefore, it should be handled with caution and proper safety equipment should always be worn.

Property Value Unit
Boiling Point -196 °C
Density 0.807 g/mL

In conclusion, liquid nitrogen has many unique properties that make it useful for a variety of applications. However, it should always be handled with care and proper safety precautions should be taken to avoid any accidents or injuries.

Dewar Flask Technology

Since the first dewar flask was invented in the late 1800s, the technology has come a long way. A dewar flask is essentially a double-walled container with a vacuum-sealed space in between the walls. This vacuum-sealed space is what provides the superb insulation needed to keep the liquid nitrogen at its incredibly low temperature for long periods of time.

  • Modern dewar flasks are made from materials like borosilicate glass, stainless steel, and sometimes even plastic.
  • The inner wall of the dewar is typically coated with a layer of silver to reflect any heat that might try to enter the container.
  • The space between the walls is usually evacuated to a high degree using a vacuum pump, which prevents any heat transfer through conduction or convection.

In addition to its insulating properties, the vacuum-sealed space also serves to reduce the pressure on the liquid nitrogen inside the flask, which can otherwise cause it to boil off more quickly.

Dewar flasks come in a variety of shapes and sizes, depending on the specific applications they are designed for. They can range from small handheld flasks used by medical professionals to store biological samples, to large tanks used in metal fabrication and the storage of biological tissues. Regardless of their size, the fundamental principles of dewar flask technology remain the same, and they continue to play a vital role in the storage and transportation of materials that require extremely cold temperatures.

If you’re interested in learning more about dewar flasks and how they work, there are plenty of resources available online. You can even find instructional videos showing how to properly handle and maintain them, as well as various suppliers who sell them. Whether you’re a scientist, a medical professional, or just someone who’s curious about this fascinating technology, there’s no shortage of information out there to help you get started.

Material Thermal Conductivity (W/m*K)
Borosilicate Glass 1.2
Stainless Steel 16.3
Plastic 0.2-0.3

As you can see from the table, different materials have different thermal conductivity values, which can affect the overall performance of the dewar flask. That’s why it’s important to choose the right material for the specific application, whether it’s for long-term storage or transportation of the liquid nitrogen. By understanding the technology behind dewar flasks, you can ensure that you’re using them safely and effectively, and you can take full advantage of their amazing insulation properties.

Evaporation Rates of Liquid Nitrogen

Understanding the evaporation rates of liquid nitrogen is crucial when handling it, especially when it is stored in a dewar. Liquid nitrogen is stored in a dewar, which is essentially a container that keeps the liquid at extremely low temperatures and prevents it from evaporating too quickly. However, even with a dewar, liquid nitrogen will eventually evaporate over time. It is important to be aware of the factors that affect the evaporation rate of liquid nitrogen so that you can safely and effectively use it for your applications.

  • Temperature: The higher the temperature of the surrounding environment, the faster the liquid nitrogen will evaporate. This is because liquid nitrogen will evaporate more quickly as its temperature approaches the boiling point of -196°C.
  • Dewar design: The design of the dewar can have an impact on the evaporation rate of liquid nitrogen. Dewars should be well-insulated and have a vacuum space to minimize the amount of heat transfer from the surrounding environment, which will slow down the evaporation rate.
  • Usage: The more frequently the dewar is opened and the longer it is open, the faster the liquid nitrogen will evaporate. This is because more warm air is introduced, which speeds up the warming and evaporation process.

It’s important to note that the evaporation rate of liquid nitrogen can vary depending on the specific application and conditions. If you need to store liquid nitrogen for an extended period of time, you may want to consider using a specialized dewar that can keep the liquid at a constant temperature and reduce evaporation rates. Keep in mind that liquid nitrogen should always be handled with care and proper safety precautions taken to prevent any accidents.

Below is a table showing the estimated evaporation rates for different sizes of dewars, assuming typical usage and operating conditions:

Dewar Size Approximate Evaporation Rate
20 L 0.5 to 1.0% per day
50 L 0.5 to 1.0% per day
150 L 1.0 to 2.0% per day

These estimated evaporation rates can provide a general idea of how long liquid nitrogen can last in a dewar, but keep in mind that the actual rate can vary depending on the specific conditions and usage.

Factors Affecting the Longevity of Liquid Nitrogen in a Dewar

When storing liquid nitrogen in a dewar, it is essential to consider the various factors that can affect its longevity. Here are the primary factors to consider:

  • Dewar Quality: The quality of the dewar is a crucial factor in determining how long liquid nitrogen will last. Higher-quality dewars are designed to withstand temperature changes, reduce evaporation, and have better insulation capacity, all of which help to extend the lifespan of the liquid nitrogen.
  • Dewar Size: The size of the dewar determines how much liquid nitrogen it can hold, and the more capacity it has, the longer the liquid nitrogen will last. A larger dewar is also more stable and improves temperature regulation, which helps extend the life of the liquid nitrogen.
  • Ambient Temperature: The ambient temperature of the room where the dewar is located can significantly impact the lifespan of the liquid nitrogen. A warmer environment will encourage the liquid nitrogen to evaporate more quickly than it would in a cooler room. Ideally, the dewar should be kept in a controlled environment with a stable temperature.

One of the most significant factors that play a role in determining how long liquid nitrogen lasts in a dewar is the level of usage. The following discusses the impact of usage on the longevity of liquid nitrogen.

When using liquid nitrogen in a laboratory setting, the level of usage can significantly impact how long the liquid nitrogen lasts. Here are some of the usage-related factors that affect the longevity of the liquid nitrogen:

  • Frequency of Usage: The more frequently liquid nitrogen is used, the quicker it will evaporate from the dewar. When using the liquid nitrogen, it is crucial to keep the dewar properly insulated and avoid leaving the lid open for extended periods.
  • Volume of Usage: The volume of liquid nitrogen used at once will impact its lifespan. Users should only remove the amount they require to avoid unnecessary waste.
  • Duration of Usage: How long liquid nitrogen is used (even if it is the same volume) can impact its lifespan. Longer durations of use can lead to the liquid nitrogen evaporating more quickly, shortening its lifespan in the dewar.

Here’s a table summarizing the factors affecting the longevity of liquid nitrogen in a dewar:

Factors How They Affect
Dewar Quality Higher-quality dewars have better insulation capacity and can withstand temperature changes, which improves their capacity to maintain liquid nitrogen temperatures.
Dewar Size Larger dewars have better temperature regulation and can hold more liquid nitrogen, increasing the longevity of the liquid nitrogen.
Ambient Temperature Higher temperatures in the room where the dewar is located can cause more rapid evaporation of the liquid nitrogen, reducing its lifespan.
Frequency of Usage More frequent use of liquid nitrogen can increase the amount of evaporation and reduce the lifespan of the liquid nitrogen.
Volume of Usage Use only the volume required to prevent unnecessary wastage and extend the life of the liquid nitrogen in the dewar.
Duration of Usage Longer periods of use can result in the liquid nitrogen evaporating at a faster rate, ultimately reducing its lifespan.

In conclusion, several factors impact the longevity of liquid nitrogen in a dewar, including dewar quality and size, ambient temperature, and level of usage of the liquid nitrogen. To maximize its lifespan, users should choose high-quality dewars, maintain stable environmental conditions, and only use the required volume of liquid nitrogen to avoid unnecessary waste. By keeping these considerations in mind, researchers and laboratory personnel can ensure that they get the most out of their liquid nitrogen supply.

Importance of Proper Storage and Handling of Dewars

When it comes to handling and storing liquid nitrogen, proper care and attention is crucial to ensure that it will last for as long as possible. Here are some key factors to keep in mind to ensure the longevity of liquid nitrogen in a dewar:

Handling Techniques

  • Only trained personnel should handle dewars to prevent accidental injuries and spills.
  • Dewars need to be handled carefully to avoid damage which could lead to leaking and contamination.
  • The dewar should never be dropped or banged as it could cause the inner vacuum to be lost which ultimately affects the insulation.

Location of Storage

The location of dewar storage is an important consideration. Here are some of the things to keep in mind:

  • Dewars should be stored in a well-ventilated location, preferably in a designated storage area with restricted access to prevent unauthorized access.
  • It should be stored in a stable environment with minimal temperature fluctuations and not near sources of heat.
  • The area should be clean and free of any debris or clutter that could cause accidents.

Inspection and Maintenance

Dewars should be regularly inspected and maintained to ensure optimal performance. The following maintenance checks should be done:

  • The pressure inside the dewar should be monitored to avoid gas pressure buildup.
  • The necktube insulation should frequently be checked on to see if there is any damage or wear-and-tear.
  • The outer shell of the dewar should be inspected for any signs of corrosion, cracks, or other damage.
  • Additionally, the liquid level should be inspected from time to time to make sure that it is properly stored and there is no loss of nitrogen.

Dewar Storage Time

It’s essential to understand that liquid nitrogen has a shelf life when stored in a dewar. How long liquid nitrogen lasts depends on several factors and what the nitrogen’s use would be. It can generally last for up to 150 days in a standard dewar. However, it could last for longer periods when stored under optimal conditions.

Factors affecting storage time for liquid nitrogen Optimum Storage Time
Quality of the dewar 8 to 10 years
Initial level of liquid nitrogen in the dewar 2 to 3 months
Number of times the dewar is opened 5 to 7 days
Temperature fluctuations in storage environment 2 to 3 months

It’s critical to keep in mind that proper storage and handling of dewars play a significant role in the longevity of liquid nitrogen. As a general rule, liquid nitrogen should be kept for as short a time as possible in a dewar, but when stored correctly, it can last for several months.

Alternative storage options for liquid nitrogen

If you need to store liquid nitrogen for an extended period, using a dewar is the most common option. However, there are alternative storage options available that may be better suited for your specific needs. Here are a few options:

  • Cryogenic freezers: These are specialized freezers specifically designed to store biological or medical products in a cryogenic state. They use liquid nitrogen as their cooling agent and can maintain a consistent temperature of -190°C or lower. These freezers usually have an internal storage capacity of up to 100,000 samples and can maintain stable temperatures for years.
  • Cryogenic chambers: These are specialized chambers that use liquid nitrogen to maintain extremely low temperatures. They are commonly used for research and development, testing and analysis, and storage of temperature-sensitive equipment. Cryogenic chambers can reach temperatures as low as -273°C and can maintain a uniform temperature throughout the entire chamber.
  • Dry shippers: These are specialized containers that use a combination of insulation and liquid nitrogen to maintain a cryogenic environment. Dry shippers are typically used for transporting biological or medical samples, as they can maintain their temperature for several days. They come in various sizes and can hold up to 600 samples.

When deciding which storage option to use, consider your storage needs, such as the quantity of liquid nitrogen needed, how long you need to store it, and the sensitivity of the products you are storing. Make sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions to ensure that your storage solution is safe and effective.

Cryogenic Storage Options Comparison

Storage Option Internal Capacity Temperature Range Duration of Temperature Maintenance Common Uses
Cryogenic Freezers Up to 100,000 samples As low as -190°C Years Medical and biological sample storage
Cryogenic Chambers Varies As low as -273°C Indefinite Research and development, testing and analysis, equipment storage
Dry Shippers Up to 600 samples -150°C to -196°C Days Transporting medical and biological samples

As you can see, each storage option has its advantages and disadvantages. Choose the one that fits your needs best and make sure to follow proper safety procedures when handling liquid nitrogen.

Applications of liquid nitrogen

Due to its extremely low temperature of -196°C, liquid nitrogen has a variety of unique applications across industries. Here are just a few of the ways liquid nitrogen is used:

  • Freezing and preservation: The most common use of liquid nitrogen is for freezing and preserving biological samples, such as blood, tissues, and sperm. This is because the low temperature prevents the samples from degrading or decomposing, making them last longer.
  • Food industry: Liquid nitrogen is used in the food industry to freeze and preserve food products, such as fruits, vegetables, and meat. It can also be used for creating unique culinary experiences through techniques like molecular gastronomy.
  • Cryotherapy: In medicine, liquid nitrogen is used for cryotherapy, which involves freezing and destroying abnormal tissues, such as warts, skin tags, and precancerous cells.
  • Power generation: Liquid nitrogen can also be used as a coolant in power generation systems, such as gas turbines and nuclear reactors, to prevent overheating and increase efficiency.
  • Cooling electronics: The low temperature of liquid nitrogen can also be used to cool electronic components, such as superconductors, to increase their efficiency and reduce energy consumption.
  • Rocket propellant: Liquid nitrogen can be used as a rocket propellant for small-scale rockets and spacecraft.
  • Transportation of perishable goods: Liquid nitrogen is also used for transporting perishable goods, such as food and medical supplies, to prevent spoilage.

As you can see, liquid nitrogen has a wide range of applications across industries, from preserving biological samples to powering rockets. Its extremely low temperature makes it a versatile tool for freezing and cooling, and its unique properties make it a valuable resource in many areas of industry and research.

Here’s a table summarizing some of the common uses of liquid nitrogen:

Industry Application
Biotech & healthcare Cryopreservation and cryotherapy
Food & beverage Freezing and preserving food, creating unique culinary experiences
Power generation Coolant for gas turbines and nuclear reactors
Electronics Cooling of electronic components
Space & aerospace Small-scale rockets and spacecraft propulsion

As technology continues to advance, liquid nitrogen will likely continue to find new and innovative applications across industries. Its unique properties make it a valuable tool for researchers, scientists, and engineers alike.

Hazards of Liquid Nitrogen Use and Storage

Liquid nitrogen is a powerful coolant that is commonly used in laboratories, medical facilities, and various industrial applications. However, liquid nitrogen poses some significant hazards that must be taken into consideration during its use and storage.

  • Cryogenic Burns: Liquid nitrogen can cause severe frostbite or cryogenic burns on skin and other body tissues. Contact with liquid nitrogen can freeze the skin instantly and cause irreversible damage or even amputation of affected body parts.
  • Asphyxiation: Liquid nitrogen can displace oxygen from the air, leading to an oxygen-deficient environment that can cause asphyxiation. Exposure to high concentrations of nitrogen gas can cause dizziness, nausea, unconsciousness, and death in extreme cases.
  • Explosion: Liquid nitrogen can cause explosions or pressure buildup if stored or transported improperly. Dewars and other liquid nitrogen containers require proper ventilation to prevent pressure buildup due to evaporating nitrogen gas.

Therefore, it is crucial to follow proper safety protocols when using and storing liquid nitrogen to prevent any accidents or incidents. Some safety guidelines include:

  • Wear proper protective gear like gloves, face shields, and aprons to prevent cryogenic burns. Do not wear rings or other jewelry when handling liquid nitrogen.
  • Always use liquid nitrogen in well-ventilated areas to prevent oxygen-deficient environments. Do not use liquid nitrogen in a confined or poorly ventilated space.
  • Handle liquid nitrogen with care and do not tilt or jolt containers to prevent sudden pressure buildup or explosions. Always transport containers securely in the upright position.
  • Make sure the storage or use area is marked with warning signs indicating the presence of liquid nitrogen and its associated hazards.
Storage Container Maximum Service Life (days)
Dewar Flask 30-60
Non-jacketed metal tank 25-40
Jacketed metal tank 60-90
Vacuum-jacketed tank 150-250

When considering the lifespan of liquid nitrogen in a dewar, it is essential to know that the service life varies based on the storage container used. The service life for a dewar flask ranges from 30-60 days, while a vacuum-jacketed tank may last up to 150-250 days.

Therefore, it is crucial to keep track of the service life of the storage container used to avoid any hazardous situations that may arise due to the reduced effectiveness of the liquid nitrogen.

Regulations and guidelines for handling and storage of liquid nitrogen

When dealing with liquid nitrogen, it is important to follow regulations and guidelines to ensure safety and prevent accidents. Here are some essential guidelines to consider:

  • Always wear proper protective gear, including gloves, laboratory coat, and safety glasses or face shield, when handling liquid nitrogen.
  • Keep liquid nitrogen containers properly labeled with key information, such as the contents, date received, and expiration date.
  • Store liquid nitrogen containers in a well-ventilated area, away from heat sources and flammable materials.
  • Do not store liquid nitrogen in a confined space, such as a closet or small room, as this can lead to the build-up of nitrogen gas and create a potentially hazardous environment.
  • Make sure all personnel who handle liquid nitrogen are properly trained and understand the potential risks and safety measures involved.
  • Inspect all liquid nitrogen containers regularly for leaks or other signs of damage.
  • Do not use liquid nitrogen in an area without proper ventilation.
  • Do not allow anyone to directly handle liquid nitrogen who is not trained and authorized to do so.
  • Handle all liquid nitrogen containers with extreme care, as sudden movements or rough handling can cause them to rupture or explode.

In addition to the guidelines listed above, there are also regulatory bodies that oversee the handling and storage of liquid nitrogen. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) are two such organizations that provide guidelines to ensure the safe handling of liquid nitrogen.

Here is a table comparing the storage times for different types of liquid nitrogen containers:

Type of Container Storage Time
Dewar Flask Up to 365 days
Thermos®-type Container Up to 30 days, with regular refilling recommended
Non-pressurized Cryogenic Container Up to 30 days, with regular refilling recommended

By following proper guidelines and regulations, the risks associated with handling and storing liquid nitrogen can be greatly reduced.

Maintenance of dewars for optimal performance and longevity.

To make sure your dewar is working properly and lasts as long as possible, regular maintenance is key. Here are some tips:

  • Handle dewars with care to avoid damage, which can compromise the container’s vacuum insulation performance.
  • Clean your dewar regularly and carefully with mild detergents and distilled water. Avoid using strong chemicals, brushes or abrasive sponges.
  • Regularly check the pressure relief valve for proper operation, especially if you’ve transported the dewar.

Standard Operational Procedures for storing liquid nitrogen in a dewar

When you are storing liquid nitrogen in a dewar, it is important to follow some standard procedures to prevent injuries or accidents. Here are some guidelines:

  • Only store liquid nitrogen in a dewar that is designed specifically for that purpose.
  • Store dewars in well-ventilated areas with good air circulation and never store them in confined spaces or near heat sources.
  • Make sure that dewars are placed on sturdy, flat surfaces, and ensure that the dewar is not near any sharp or hazardous objects.
  • Label the dewar with appropriate warning signs, such as the symbol for cryogenic material, and additional information about the contents.
  • Teach anyone who may handle the dewar about the potential hazards and how to handle the container safely.

Safe Operating Procedures for handling liquid nitrogen in a dewar

Just like with storing liquid nitrogen in a dewar, it’s crucial to handle the container and its contents carefully and safely. Here are some guidelines:

  • Always wear appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE), such as gloves and goggles, when handling liquid nitrogen.
  • Avoid pouring liquid nitrogen rapidly or splashing it.
  • Do not overfill the dewar with liquid nitrogen, and never use a container that has been damaged or is leaking.
  • Never try to seal a dewar or store it in a place where the pressure can increase, as this can cause the container to explode.
  • When you’re transferring liquid nitrogen from one container to another, use insulated gloves and keep the containers as vertical as possible to avoid spills or splashing.

Table: Expected liquid nitrogen holding times for different dewar sizes

Here is a table that shows the expected holding time of liquid nitrogen for different dewar sizes and the expected temperature:

Dewar size Expected Holding Time (days) Expected Temperature (°C)
10 liters 63 -195
20 liters 121 -195
30 liters 173 -195
50 liters 299 -195

Keep in mind that these holding times can vary based on many factors such as the frequency of usage, ambient temperature, and other conditions that affect the performance of your dewar.

How Long Does Liquid Nitrogen Last in a Dewar?

1. What is a dewar?

A dewar is a container used for storing liquid nitrogen.

2. How long does liquid nitrogen last in a dewar?

It depends on the size of the dewar and the amount of liquid nitrogen it contains. In general, a well-insulated dewar can keep liquid nitrogen for several weeks.

3. How do I know when the liquid nitrogen is running low?

You can measure the level of liquid nitrogen in the dewar by using the dipstick that comes with it. Alternatively, you can weigh the dewar and subtract the weight of the empty container to determine how much liquid nitrogen is left.

4. What happens if the liquid nitrogen runs out?

If the liquid nitrogen runs out, the container will warm up and the pressure inside the dewar will decrease. This can cause damage to the container and may result in the loss of any biological or scientific samples stored inside.

5. How can I extend the life of the liquid nitrogen in the dewar?

To extend the life of liquid nitrogen in the dewar, make sure the container is well-insulated and kept away from heat sources. Only remove the amount of liquid nitrogen needed for immediate use and quickly reseal the container.

6. Can I refill the dewar with liquid nitrogen?

Yes, most dewars can be refilled with liquid nitrogen.

7. Is it safe to handle liquid nitrogen?

Liquid nitrogen is extremely cold and can cause frostbite or burns if it comes in contact with skin. It can also displace oxygen in an enclosed space, posing a risk of suffocation. Always wear protective clothing and handle with care.

Closing Thoughts

We hope this FAQ has answered your questions about how long does liquid nitrogen last in a dewar. Remember to handle liquid nitrogen with caution, always wear protective clothing, and keep the container well-insulated to extend the life of the liquid nitrogen. Thank you for reading, and don’t hesitate to come back and visit us for more informative articles in the future!