Safe Hadling Of Liquid Nitrogen

  Handling Liquid Nitrogen

  Contact of liquid nitrogen or any very cold gas with the skin or eyes may cause serious freezing (frostbite) injury. Protect hands at all times when working with liquid nitrogen with Cryo Gloves.

  1.Handle liquid nitrogen carefully

  The extremely low temperature can freeze human flesh very rapidly. When spilled on a surface the liquid tends to cover it completely and intimately, cooling a large area. The gas issuing from the liquid is also extremely cold. Delicate tissue, such as that of the eyes, can be damaged by an exposure to the cold gas which would be too brief to affect the skin of the hands or face.

  2.Never allow any unprotected part of your body to touch objects cooled by liquid nitrogen.

  Such objects may stick fast to the skin and tear the flesh when you attempt to free yourself. Use tongs, preferably with insulated handles, to withdraw objects immersed in the liquid, and handle the object carefully.

  3.Wear protective clothing

  Protect your eyes with a face shield or safety goggles (safety glasses without side shields do not give adequate protection). Always wear cryo gloves when handling anything that is, or may have been, in immediate contact with liquid nitrogen. The gloves should fit loosely, so that they can be thrown off quickly if liquid should splash into them. When handling liquid in open containers, it is advisable to wear high-top shoes. Trousers (which should be cuffless if possible) should be worn outside the shoes.

  Any kind of canvas shoes should be avoided because a liquid nitrogen spill can be taken up by the canvas resulting in a far more severe burn, in fact that would occur if the feet were essentially open or bare! Now we don't advocate going bare foot when using liquid nitrogen, but we also don't think that the wearing of canvas shoes is a safe practice either.

  4.Use only containers designed for low-temperature liquids

  Cryogenic containers are specifically designed and made of materials that can withstand the rapid changes and extreme temperature differences encountered in working with liquid nitrogen. Even these special containers should be filled slowly to minimize the internal stresses that occur when any material is cooled. Excessive internal stresses can damage the container.

  Do not ever cover or plug the entrance opening of any liquid nitrogen dewar. Do not use any stopper or other device that would interfere with venting of gas.

  These cryogenic liquid containers are generally designed to operate with little or no internal pressure. Inadequate venting can result in excessive gas pressure which could damage or burst the container. Use only the loose-fitting necktube core supplied or one of the approved accessories for closing the necktube. Check the unit periodically to be sure that venting is not restricted by accumulated ice or frost.

    

  5.Use proper transfer equipment

  Use a phase separator or special filling funnel to prevent splashing and spilling when transferring liquid nitrogen into or from a dewar. The top of the funnel should be partly covered to reduce splashing. Use only small, easily handled dewars for pouring liquid. For the larger, heavier containers, use a cryogenic liquid withdrawal device to transfer liquid from one container to another. Be sure to follow instructions supplied with the withdrawal device. When liquid cylinders or other large storage containers are used for filling, follow the instructions supplied with those units and their accessories.

  6.Do not overfill containers

  Filling above the bottom of the necktube (or specified maximum level) can result in overflow and spillage of liquid when the necktube core or cover is placed in the opening.

  7.Never use hollow rods or tubes as dipsticks

  When a warm tube is inserted into liquid nitrogen, liquid will spout from the bottom of the tube due to gasification and rapid expansion of liquid inside the tube. Wooden or solid metal dipsticks are recommended; avoid using plastics that may become very brittle at cryogenic temperatures which then become prone to shatter like a fragile piece of glass.Nitrogen gas can cause suffocation without warning.

  8.Store and use liquid nitrogen only in a well ventilated place.

  As the liquid evaporates, the resulting gas tends to displace the normal air from the area. In closed areas, excessive amounts of nitrogen gas reduce the concentration of oxygen and can result in asphyxiation. Because nitrogen gas is colorless, odorless and tasteless, it cannot be detected by the human senses and will be breathed as if it were air. Breathing an atmosphere that contains less than 19 percent oxygen can cause dizziness and quickly result in unconsciousness and death.

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