Where Do You Get Liquid Nitrogen?
How to Purchase Liquid Nitrogen
People use liquid nitrogen (LN2) for a variety of purposes, including freezing warts, performing science experiments, welding metals, preserving biochemical materials, and even home cooking.Yet since it’s potentially hazardous, you can’t just pick it up at the grocery store like you would a gallon of milk. By researching where to find a supplier, what container to get, and how to fill the container, you can purchase liquid nitrogen safely from an authorized supplier.
Finding a Supplier
See if there is a distributor near you.Liquid nitrogen is not an over-the-counter product, so you may not know gas what types of stores supply it. Companies like PraxAir and AirGas distribute gases to customers all over the world, however, so there may be a supplier near you. Check the store locators on these companies’ websites to see if there is a place to purchase liquid nitrogen within reach.
- If there is not a nearby branch, you can also search the internet and/or your local Yellow Pages for a distributor that services your location.
Inquire at a local university.Physics and Chemistry departments often have their own supply of liquid nitrogen for research purposes. They sometimes offer liquid nitrogen for sale.Prices at university labs are often much cheaper than those of professional distributors.
- Search the websites of your local university’s chemistry and physics departments. They will usually have instructions on who to contact, and may even have an online order form for liquid nitrogen purchases.
- If you can’t find any information about liquid nitrogen purchasing on the department’s website, you can also try calling their main office. Most university departments have a phone number listed on their main page.
Ask someone else where they get their supply.If you haven’t found anything through your own searches, you may also try asking other people who use liquid nitrogen on a regular basis. Doctors, welders, and sometimes farmers use liquid nitrogen, and you can always ask them where to go.While they likely won’t sell you any directly for liability reasons, they might be perfectly willing to let you know where you can get some for yourself.
Purchasing a Dewar
Determine what size dewar you need.In order to purchase liquid nitrogen, you will need a sturdy metal container called a dewar.Dewars are the safest way to transport liquid nitrogen because they are specially designed to insulate gases (which keeps the LN2 cool) and relieve pressure (which will prevent bursting). Determine how large of a dewar you need based on how much liquid nitrogen you wish to purchase.
- Dewars typically range from 3.6 litres (0.95 US gal) to 50 litres (13 US gal) in size.
- Never store liquid nitrogen in a fully-sealed container. This would result in an excess of air pressure, and cause the container to burst.
Ask if your local supplier provides dewars.If you know where to buy your liquid nitrogen, you might not need to make another trip for the dewar! Many places that supply liquid nitrogen also sell dewars to store it. Call your local supplier or check their website to see if they sell dewars, and if so, what their sizes and prices are.
- Prices for dewars vary depending on their size, but usually cost at least 0USD and usually more.
- If you don’t purchase liquid nitrogen often, you might want to consider renting a dewar. Places that sell liquid nitrogen often have dewars available to rent.
Purchase a dewar online if you’re worried about the cost.Dewars can be bought online at a variety of websites. Major retailers like Amazon and Ebay, for instance, offer a wide selection of dewars for sale. A good used dewar could be a much better deal than a full-price one from your local gas supplier.
- When shopping online, it’s best to buy from certified sellers with high ratings, in order to ensure quality and reliability.
Filling Your Dewar
Choose appropriate transportation if you are picking it up.You can either pick up liquid nitrogen in person from a supplier, or have it delivered to you. If you’re collecting your dewar at a supplier, you’ll need to have a vehicle that can suitably carry it from the supplier back to your home or workspace. Your vehicle will have to be able to store your dewar upright and provide plenty of ventilation.
- Some places will even require an open vehicle, such as a truck, for transporting liquid nitrogen.Check the policy of your local supplier before driving over in a hatchback.
- You can always ask your liquid nitrogen supplier if they offer home delivery.
Delegate the filling process to a professional.Filling a tank of liquid nitrogen is a complicated process that requires safety training and close supervision in most places.If you are delivering your dewar to a supplier, they will probably take care of filling it for you. As they have the necessary training and safety equipment, it is best to let them take care of this.
- If you are ordering liquid nitrogen delivered to your home or workspace, the supplier will deliver it to you in the dewar you requested.
Handle your dewar carefully after it’s filled.Observing proper safety measures will lower the risk of injury. If you’re transporting your dewar, make sure that it can stay upright in a well-ventilated vehicle. Wear safety goggles and hazardous material gloves, to prevent any liquid nitrogen getting into your eyes or onto your skin. Always store and handle your dewar in a room with plenty of ventilation.
- The price of liquid nitrogen tends to vary between $.06USD and .50USD per liter.Prices may be higher at a local retailer, however, and many places will require a minimum amount to purchase.Make sure to confirm the price before getting your dewar filled!
- Liquid Nitrogen will cause severe burns if it comes into contact with your skin or eyes.Wear goggles and protective gloves at all times when handling it.
- Concentrated amounts of liquid nitrogen can displace oxygen in the air, making it difficult to breathe.Handle your liquid nitrogen in a well-ventilated environment in order to prevent asphyxiation.
- The FDA has issued a warning against consuming foods and drinks, such as “Dragon’s Breath,” that that are prepared with liquid nitrogen at point of sale.Handling these drinks or inhaling their vapors can cause injuries.
- Some places will require a background check for the purchase of liquid nitrogen. This is standard procedure with potentially hazardous materials in certain regions. Always be aware of local and national laws for purchasing and transporting hazardous materials.
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