If you need to buy liquid nitrogen, it’s important to know a good source to buy it and its cost. What is the standard liquid nitrogen price? How much does it cost?
Liquid nitrogen costs about $2 to $4 per liter when delivered in small flasks and about $1 per liter when delivered in bulk storage tanks. The price will vary depending on where you buy the liquid nitrogen and how much you buy.
Also, if you want your own Dewar container for transporting liquid nitrogen, the cost is about $200 for the smallest Dewar. If you use your own Dewar, you can get lower liquid nitrogen prices.
Read on to learn more about how much liquid nitrogen costs and where to buy liquid nitrogen.
Liquid Nitrogen Price
The average cost that liquid nitrogen goes for these days is around $2 per liter. However, be prepared as you may also be paying extra for the special container, handling and equipment, and delivery. The additional costs are usually for when you will not be picking it up yourself.
Other factors also come into play regarding the pricing of liquid nitrogen. One is the place where you will be getting the liquid nitrogen from. It will be much cheaper if you can manage to get it from the manufacturing plant compared to a distributor.
Where to Buy Liquid Nitrogen?
Although you could not buy liquid nitrogen like you would other substances, it is not impossible to get. It is even unnecessary to get a special permit to buy it. If you, for whatever reason, want to buy some liquid nitrogen, here are some of the places where you can get it.
You will also learn about what you need to have and do when buying:
1. Gas Companies
Many industrial gas suppliers sell a wide variety of chemicals and gases. If you have access to one, then it would be best for you to try there first. However, since they do not usually sell liquid nitrogen to individuals, you will not find any price listings on their website. You might need to call their office first to ask for the price and if you can buy liquid nitrogen from them.
A word of warning, though. They may not allow you to buy liquid nitrogen because you need to provide your own Dewar. It is the special container used for transporting liquid nitrogen (you will be learning more about this later).
How much does liquid nitrogen cost at a gas company? Liquid nitrogen costs about $2 to $4 per liter, depending on how much you buy.
2. Tire Repair Shops
Many tire repair shops use nitrogen to fill tires instead of air. The main reason is that it is denser, which means it will seep through the rubber much slower. It also means that the tires will stay inflated much longer. If you are lucky, these shops will have a lot of nitrogen on hand. They may even have a couple of Dewar’s lying around that they are willing to sell to you.
Again, because these shops do not usually sell liquid nitrogen on their own, you will need to call ahead and inquire about the price. You also need to ask if you are allowed to buy some liquid nitrogen.
How much does liquid nitrogen cost at a tire shop? Liquid nitrogen costs about $4 to $6 per liter, depending on the shop and how much you buy.
3. Welding Supply Stores
What most people do not know is that welders use quite a lot of nitrogen gas. Since it is easier to store it in its liquid form, welding supply stores would surely have a lot of it in stock.
However, a potential problem that you might run into is that these stores usually sell liquid nitrogen in bulk. This means they may not accommodate you if you need a gallon or so. Still, it would not hurt to ask.
What is the liquid nitrogen price at a welding supply store? The average liquid nitrogen price at a welding supply store is about $4 per liter, depending on the shop and how much you buy.
4. Colleges and Universities
Many colleges and universities keep a healthy stock of liquid nitrogen for their various research and experiments. The best thing of all is that they usually sell liquid nitrogen at a much lower price. Colleges and universities are also willing to sell in small batches, given that you have your own Dewar.
You should give your local college’s laboratory department and ask if they would be willing to sell you some liquid nitrogen.
What is the price of liquid nitrogen at colleges and universities? The price of liquid nitrogen at colleges and universities ranges from about $2 per liter.
Getting a Dewar Container for Transporting Liquid Nitrogen
Here are some of the Dewar container’s qualities that make it an appropriate container for liquid nitrogen:
You have to be careful when transporting liquid nitrogen. The reason is that it is so cold that any other material other than metal will crack and shatter. In addition, since it boils and evaporates at such a low temperature, its container should have a way to relieve internal pressure, or else it would burst.
A Dewar is a perfect container for transporting liquid nitrogen. It is a heavily insulated metal, heavily insulated with a venting system, allowing enough evaporated nitrogen gas to escape.
A Dewar comes in as small as a gallon size to as big as 13 gallons. You need to think about how much liquid nitrogen you will be buying regularly as these containers are not cheap. Dewar prices start at US$200 for the smallest. This price can go into the thousands for the bigger containers.
Suppose you will not be purchasing liquid nitrogen that often. Consider renting a Dewar instead of buying your own. Most places that sell liquid nitrogen usually rent out Dewar containers for a nominal price.
You Can Either Rent or Purchase It Online
Of course, you can also purchase these containers online. The good news is that they will be selling these containers online at a much more affordable price than gas companies. However, the quality of the ones you find online can be hit or miss, so ensure that you only buy them from a reputable seller with high customer ratings.
Anyway, the gas company or establishment will be testing your Dewar first before selling you any liquid nitrogen. The only thing you need to worry about is wasting money on one you will not be able to use.
We’ve looked at the cost of liquid nitrogen, where to buy it, and getting a Dewar container. Next, let’s look at what liquid nitrogen is and how long it keeps.
What Is Liquid Nitrogen?
Liquid nitrogen is a form of the element nitrogen that is cold enough to exist in a liquid state and ideal for many cooling and cryogenic applications.
Nitrogen is one of the naturally occurring gases found on earth. Although it sounds menacing, it is necessary for the proper growth and reproduction of all living organisms, including humans. In fact, the air you are breathing right now is more than 75% nitrogen.
Nitrogen at Low Temperature
When put under a considerable amount of pressure and cooled down, nitrogen will turn into a liquid. At about 320 degrees below freezing, it can instantly freeze anything that it touches. It is so cold that exposing it to the atmosphere will immediately make it boil and evaporate. It is why it creates all that steam/smoke when used to make fancy cocktails and desserts.
Although harmless when in its natural state, mixed in the atmosphere, when liquid nitrogen turns into a gas, it will displace oxygen within an enclosed space. The reason is that it is a denser gas. Because of the sudden drop in oxygen levels, people exposed to pure nitrogen gas can suffer from headaches. They may even lose consciousness when exposed long enough.
According to the Food and Drug Administration, liquid nitrogen is technically non-toxic, so chefs use this to prepare dishes. However, accidental ingestion of liquid nitrogen can cause severe damage to the skin and internal organs.
How Does Liquid Nitrogen Stay Cold?
Technically speaking, liquid nitrogen does not “stay” cold. The reason why it is always smoking is that it has such a low boiling point. Exposing liquid nitrogen to room temperature is enough to make it boil and evaporate. It is necessary to keep it at a freezing temperature to remain liquid.
How Long Does Liquid Nitrogen Keep?
You can’t keep liquid nitrogen that long because it tends to evaporate quickly. You cannot also store it in airtight containers as it tends to build up pressure quite quickly. Left untouched, a small Dewar container full of liquid nitrogen will be empty in just two days.
The reason is that the Dewar is vented, causing the evaporated nitrogen to release slowly. This prevents pressure from building up inside the container, so make sure that you will be using the liquid nitrogen within the date of purchase.
Again, how much does liquid nitrogen cost? What is the average liquid nitrogen price? Liquid nitrogen costs about $2 to $4 per liter when delivered in small flasks and about $1 per liter when delivered in bulk storage tanks. The price will vary depending on where you buy the liquid nitrogen and how much you buy.
Uses of Liquid Nitrogen
So what are the actual uses of liquid nitrogen? Here are just a few areas where you can apply it:
1. Medical Industry
The medical industry has a lot of uses for liquid nitrogen. The most common use is in dermatology. You can use it to remove skin imperfections like warts and skin tags. Because of its ability to freeze substances instantly, you can also use liquid nitrogen for preserving blood, donor sperm and eggs, and other biological tissue samples.
One controversial medical use of liquid nitrogen is in cryonics, where corpses, and sometimes just the person’s head, are frozen to keep them preserved for many years. This is done in the hopes that future generations may figure out a way to revive them and allow them to keep living. Basically, people are banking that someone might discover the cure to death in the future.
2. Industrial Uses
As mentioned earlier, professional welders use nitrogen for industrial welding jobs, specifically when working with stainless steel. Nitrogen and other inert gases are used for TIG welding because it displaces oxygen. It can then prevent the oxidation of the welds.
Liquid nitrogen is also a commonly used coolant in many different laboratory applications, including computer cooling systems and CCD cameras. It is also useful in a system that uses high-temperature superconductors for heavy-duty vacuum pumps and ICBMs’ cooling systems.
3. Culinary Applications
You can also use liquid nitrogen in culinary applications, usually in making artisanal ice creams. You will find it useful when transporting perishable food products that need immediate refrigeration or for flash freezing.
Celebrity chef Heston Blumenthal is one of the most famous people who use liquid nitrogen regularly in his restaurant, The Fat Duck. He found out that liquid nitrogen freezes the water so fast that it produces significantly smaller ice crystals. It then leads to ice creams and similar desserts that have a smoother texture.
Liquid nitrogen is also a somewhat common ingredient used in trendy bars. Many bartenders use it to create frosted glasses quickly and flash-freeze ingredients for cocktails. Usually, though, bartenders use liquid nitrogen to add a smoky effect to their concoctions.
We’ve looked at the price of liquid nitrogen, the uses, and where to buy it. Let’s now look at the hazards of liquid nitrogen so that you are safe when handling it.
Hazards of Liquid Nitrogen
It Can Cause Frostbite
Liquid nitrogen has a -196°C boiling point. It means that if it is still in a liquid state, then it will be freezing. If you accidentally spill a certain amount of this substance on your skin, it can cause instant freezer burn or frostbite. Sensitive tissue, such as your eyes, can sustain damage just by the cold nitrogen gas alone.
Nitrogen is basically invisible to the naked eye. It is also odorless and tasteless. In other words, you will not detect it without using special equipment. When liquid nitrogen is left to evaporate, it displaces the oxygen in the immediate atmosphere.
Possible Mild to Moderate Asphyxiation
If it happens in an enclosed space, the people inside may suffer from mild to moderate asphyxiation. In worst-case scenarios, people may even fall unconscious without any warning.
There was a regrettable incident that happened in a poultry processing plant in Georgia. Liquid nitrogen leaked inside the plant and immediately killed six people and seriously injured around a dozen others. The company discovered that at least three of them are in critical condition.
Therefore, if you are thinking of using liquid nitrogen at home for cooking, you need to take the necessary precautions. Use the proper insulated protective gloves and always wear eye protection. Also, make sure that you will be using the substance in a well-ventilated location.
Conclusion – How Much Does Liquid Nitrogen Cost?
You can purchase liquid nitrogen nowadays for around $2 to $4 a liter. However, you will also need to consider other costs when buying it, not the least of which is the container where you will be putting it in.
Buying liquid nitrogen is not that easy, but it is not overly difficult either. The most difficult part of the process is getting a proper Dewar since this container does not come cheap. If you can manage to snag yourself one of these containers or find a place that rents them out, then you will be able to buy as much liquid nitrogen as you want.
Again, if you ever need a supply of liquid nitrogen, look in the following places:
- Gas Companies
- Tire Repair Shops
- Welding Supply Stores
- Colleges and Universities