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Liquid Carbon Dioxide Is an Enviro-Friendly Cryogen Spray

It reaches same temperature as tetrafluoroethane with fewer environmental effects

TUESDAY, Jan. 1 (HealthDay News) -- Cryogen spray cooling with liquid carbon dioxide during dermatologic laser surgery may be significantly more environmentally friendly than standard cryogen spray cooling with tetrafluoroethane, researchers report in the December issue of Lasers in Surgery and Medicine.

Wangcun Jia, Ph.D., of the Beckman Laser Institute at the University of California in Irvine, Calif., and colleagues used a thin-film thermocouple deposited on an epoxy skin phantom to measure surface temperature variations caused by carbon dioxide and tetrafluoroethane sprays. They also measured the impact pressure and noise level of both cryogen sprays.

The researchers found that carbon dioxide sprays were capable of reaching a similar temperature as tetrafluoroethane sprays when the spurt duration and delay time were appropriately selected. They also found that the impact pressure for carbon dioxide and tetrafluoroethane sprays was 43.1 kPa and 3.6 kPa, respectively, and that the maximum noise level was 135 dBA and 109 dBA, respectively.

"Although the carbon dioxide consumption is four times higher than tetrafluoroethane, its contribution to global warming is still much less than tetrafluoroethane," the authors write. "Finally, it should be noted that although carbon dioxide by definition has a global warming potential equal to one, the real global warming potential is zero for carbon dioxide made from sources other than burning of fossil fuels."

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