Dry ice bomb

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Dry ice bomb exploding in water.

A dry ice bomb is a simple bomb-like improvised explosive device. While the simplicity and ease of construction, high bursting pressure, and sound make this dry ice activity appealing for recreational purposes, it can be unpredictable and dangerous, and has led to many injuries - and dry ice bombs are illegal in many jurisdictions.


Dry ice bombs are commonly made from a container such as a plastic bottle, water, and dry ice. The bottle is filled about quarter full of water. Some broken chunks of dry ice are added and the container is shut tightly. As the solid carbon dioxide warms inside a bottle, it sublimates to a gas. The pressure inside the bottle increases as the quantity of gas increases with limited room to expand. Bombs will typically rupture within 30 seconds to 30 minutes, dependent largely on the temperature of the air outside the bottle.[1] A dry ice bomb may develop a frost on the bottle exterior prior to explosion.[1] After explosion, a dry ice bomb will appear to have shattered, with the overall shape of the device intact.[1]


Dry ice bombs have some serious risks:

Dud bombs which fail to explode are a major safety problem. They cannot be left, yet cannot be safely approached. Unexploded bombs can be shot or otherwise ruptured from a safe distance. Injuries are common, with glass bottles in particular posing a risk of serious injury or death.[2][3][4][5]


Dry ice bombs are illegal in some jurisdictions in the United States,[6][7] and can lead to imprisonment.[8]

In popular culture[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Jill Meryl Levy (2006). The First Responder's Field Guide to Hazmat and Terrorism Emergency Response. Firebelle Productions. pp. 8–10. 
  2. ^ "NewsLibrary Search Results". 
  3. ^ "NewsLibrary Search Results". 
  4. ^ "Glass shrapnel injuries to children resulting from...[J Pediatr Surg. 1990] - PubMed Result". Ncbi.nlm.nih.gov. 2009-07-01. Retrieved 2009-09-20. 
  5. ^ "Toxicological Reviews — userLogin". Pt.wkhealth.com. Retrieved 2009-09-20. 
  6. ^ "Charlotte: Search Results". 2006-10-24. 
  7. ^ "> News > North County — Neighbors' long quarrel erupted". SignOnSanDiego.com. 2002-09-05. Retrieved 2009-09-20. 
  8. ^ "Dry-ice bomb prank ends in jail". The Press. May 2, 2008. Retrieved September 29, 2011. 
  9. ^ although dry-ice bombs rely upon the principle of phase-change, not chemical reaction
  10. ^ "CA Codes (pen:12301-12316)". Leginfo.ca.gov. Retrieved 2009-09-20. 
  11. ^ Cheedella, Krishna Chaitanya. "LAX dry ice bombs: Airport employee arrested". 10news. Retrieved 2013-10-15. 
  12. ^ Whitcomb, Dan (2013-05-29). "Disneyland employee arrested in suspected dry ice explosion". Reuters. Retrieved 2013-05-31. 
  13. ^ "State of Nebraska" (PDF). Retrieved 2009-09-20. 
  14. ^ "13-3102 – Misconduct involving weapons". Azleg.state.az.us. Retrieved 2009-11-10. 
  15. ^ "13-3101 – Definitions". Azleg.state.az.us. Retrieved 2009-09-20. 
  16. ^ "Bomb squad demonstrates dangers of homemade explosives", KSL.com.

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