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Dry ice bomb

  A dry ice bomb is a simple bomb-like device. While the simplicity and ease of construction, high bursting pressure, and sound make the dry ice bomb attractive for recreational purposes, they can be unpredictable and dangerous.



As frozen carbon dioxide warms inside a bottle, it sublimates to a gas. The pressure inside the bottle increases as the gas expands. Bombs will typically rupture within 30 seconds to 30 minutes, dependent largely on the temperature of water put into 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 are most commonly used on their own to simply make a blast. They are not useful as weapons as the timing of the blast cannot be controlled.


Dry ice bombs have some serious risks:

  • Premature explosion. Burst pressure can occur within seconds, injuring the handler.
  • The shock wave can be extremely loud. Permanent hearing damage can occur even at substantial distances.
  • Shrapnel poses a danger to anyone in the vicinity of the device.
  • In many areas dry ice bombs are illegal. Some documented examples include the U.S. states of Arizona,[2] California,[3] and Nebraska [4] but even elsewhere the noise generated may violate local laws.
  • Leaving an unexploded dry ice bomb can be construed as public endangerment.

Arrests are frequent.[5][6] Injuries have been reported,[7][8][9][10] and bomb-makers have been known to sustain severe injuries if they are holding the device when it explodes.[11]

Bombs which do not explode are a major safety problem. They cannot be left, yet cannot be safely approached.


Dry ice bombs are illegal in many jurisdictions.

In California the relevant law defines a dry ice bomb as: "any sealed device containing dry ice (CO2) or other chemically reactive substances assembled for the purpose of causing an explosion by a chemical reaction." A dry ice bomb explodes due to a physical phase change rather than any chemical process, but making one might be a felony that carries a fine of $10,000,[11]

Popular culture references

  • A dry ice bomb featured on MythBusters - episode 57 Mentos and Soda, which was first aired on August 9, 2006.
  • The book One Day in the Life of a Fool by Jeremy M Gates includes a story about a dry ice bomb which failed to explode as planned, and later exploded accidentally after someone took it indoors.

See also


  1. ^ a b c Jill Meryl Levy (2006). The First Responder's Field Guide to Hazmat and Terrorism Emergency Response. Firebelle Productions, 8-10. 
  2. ^
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  5. ^,114FC317F566D278.html
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  7. ^,0EAE8FCA4F05DAF6.html
  8. ^,0EAE9034E5468C7D.html
  9. ^
  10. ^
  11. ^ a b "Homemade bomb explodes in Ramona worker's hands", San Diego Union-Tribune, June 24, 2005. Retrieved on 2007-07-25. 
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Dry_ice_bomb". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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