About LN2 and Safety
April 16, 2015
Anyone moving to cryogenic storage may find themselves facing an element that they have not deal with previously — Liquid Nitrogen (LN2). It’s something that safety requires special safety considerations.
Briefly, the warnings: at atmospheric pressures, LN2 boils at -196°C, therefore it can easily burn skin upon contact. It is colorless, odorless, tasteless (though I don’t know who ever tasted it…) — and can displace breathable oxygen from the air by expanding 1:694 (ratio of liquid LN2 to gas N2) — creating a potentially life-threatening situation through asphyxiation.
Although there are safety concerns, LN2 is widely used as the fuel for cryogenic temperature storage due to its low costs and ease of access. A common use is cryogenic biological storage.
For best practices regarding the safe storage, handling, use of LN2, and information on the specialized personal protection equipment that’s needed, please refer to these example resources: