Dry ice blasting, also known as carbon dioxide or CO2 cleaning is where dry ice, in a solid pellet form, is accelerated through a hose with pressurized air and aimed at a solid surface to clean.
The cleaning method is similar to other types of media blasting such as sand blasting, plastic bead blasting, or sodablasting. Dry ice blasting uses dry ice pellets as the blasting medium. Dry ice blasting is nonabrasive, non-conductive, nonflammable, and non-toxic.
How it works
Dry ice blasting equipment propels the pellets at extremely high speeds. Upon impact, the pellet sublimates, transferring minimal kinetic energy to the surface of substrate on impact producing minimal abrasion. The sublimation process causes a micro-thermal shock between the surface contaminate and the substrate. The substrate, which is warmer, causes the dry ice to convert back into a harmless CO2 gas. The gas expands to nearly 800 times the volume of the original pellet and the surface contaminate is lifted by the CO2 from behind, falling away from the surface. Since the dry ice has now evaporated (CO2 gas), the only clean up that remains, with our highly-effective dry ice cleaning solution, is the contaminate.
Dry ice blasting is an environmentally responsible cleaning process. Dry ice is made of reclaimed carbon dioxide that is produced from other industrial processes, does not add additional greenhouse gases to the atmosphere. Dry ice blasting is approved by the EPA, FDA and USDA. It also eliminates employee exposure to chemical cleaning agents and solvents.
Dry ice blasting does not create secondary waste or chemical residues. Dry ice sublimates, or turns back in to a gas when it hits the surface that is being cleaned. With dry ice blasting there is no clean-up of a blasting medium and the contaminate that has fallen from the surface can be swept up, vacuumed or washed away.Traditional cleaning methods contribute thousands of tons of toxic secondary waste to our landfills each year. Dry ice blasting eliminates the secondary waste by simply disappearing upon impact.
• Abrasive blasting leaves some level of cleanliness and roughness with sand being the most common blasting media. Most all open abrasive blasting creates fugitive dust, which is usually toxic. This dust leaves a mess and dramatically shortens the life of all nearby moving parts through wear.
• It also results in damaging the tube fins and the thinning of the tube walls. It leaves a lot of waste for disposal after the cleaning is done.
• Dry ice blasting uses non-abrasive dry ice that won’t wear away the surface being cleaned and won’t create additional waste for disposal.
(Ultra-)High Pressure Water Blasting
• While it is among the fastest methods of cleaning, water blasting has limited applications. For example, on steel surfaces, it cannot create any specific surface profile.
• Also, the use of water induces flash rusting, making paint or coating application more
difficult and risky.
• Dry ice sublimates quickly, equipment stays clean and dry. Waste streams are also minimized
as no additional waste (such as wastewater) results from the cleaning process