Cryogenics

The science and technology of producing and using low temperature matter, usually from 220° Kelvin to absolute zero (0°K = -273.16 °C = -459.69 °F).
Hazards associated with cryogenic fluids include personnel exposure (cold burns, frostbite), material and constructioand asphyxiation.

What do I need to know?


Personnel Safety

Face shields, goggles, and cryogenic handling gloves shall be worn during the transfer and normal handling of cryogenic fluids.
File:Cryo gloves.jpg
File:Cryo gloves.jpg

Loose fitting, heavy leather, or other insulating protective gloves shall be worn at all times when handling cryogenic fluids. Shirt sleeves will be rolled down and buttoned over glove cuffs, or an equivalent protection such as a lab coat will be worn in order to prevent liquid from spraying or spilling inside gloves. Trousers without cuffs will be worn.

Safe Practices

Cryogenic fluids must be handled and stored only in containers and systems specifically designed for these products and in accordance with applicable standards, procedures, or proven safe practices.
Transfer operations involving open cryogenic containers, such as dewars, must be conducted slowly to minimize boiling and splashing of the cryogenic fluid. Transfer of cryogenic fluids from open containers must occur below chest level of the person pouring liquid.
Such operations shall be conducted only in well ventilated areas to prevent the possible gas or vapor accumulation, which may produce an oxygen-deficient atmosphere and lead to asphyxiation. The volumetric expansion ration between liquid and atmospheric nitrogen is approximately 700 to 1.

First Aid

Workers will rarely, if ever, come into contact with cryogenic fluids if proper handling procedures are used. In the unlikely event of contact with a cryogenic liquid or gas, a cold-contact "burn" may occur. The skin or eye tissue will freeze. The recommended emergency treatment is as follows:
  • ESU must be contacted immediately by calling Ext. 3333.
  • If the cryogenic fluid comes in contact with the skin or eyes, flush the affected area with generous quantities of cold water. Never use dry heat. Splashes on bare skin cause a stinging sensation but, in general, are not harmful.
  • If clothing becomes soaked with liquid it should be removed as quickly as possible and the affected area should be flooded with water as above. Where clothing has frozen to the underlying skin, cold water should be poured on the area, but not attempt should be made to remove the clothing until it is completely free.


Additional Information

Additional information on cyrogenics can be garnered from ESHD 5008, Section 9, Chapter 3.