How It Works
Dry ice blasting uses compressed air to force CO2 (Carbon Dioxide) pellets out of a tube through a narrow tip aimed at the surface to be cleaned. Although it looks much like pressure washing or sand blasting, the big difference is that dry ice is – dry. The CO2 is so cold – 109° below zero – that it causes the dirt molecules to shrink, loosening them from the surface. As soon as the pellets hit the surface they change from solid to gas, creating a molecular "blast" that pries off dirt, grime and paint.
- The only thing left to do is sweep up the residue of paint, ink, resins, asphalt, grime, adhesives or whatever has been removed from surfaces. No waste water. No chemical drainage. No sand or plastic beads scattered around. The CO2 goes into the atmosphere.
- There is no dust or detritus from dry ice blasting that can be trapped in or foul up either the machinery being cleaned or nearby equipment.
- The pellets are non-toxic; pose no workplace hazard to people or equipment, and meet EPA, USDA and FDA guidelines.
- Unlike sand blasting, dry ice blasting is non-abrasive. When dry ice pellets hit a surface, such as a metal part contaminated with oil and grime, the dry ice pellets immediately change in form from solid to gas.
The customer does not have to no longer take apart industrial equipment, move it to a cleaning area, and then move it back to the manufacturing floor to be reassembled. It can now be cleaned in-situ, greatly reducing costly downtime. The dry ice blasting nozzle is agile for reaching most exposed areas. If needed, some strategic disassembly performed in-place enables the cleaning to be completed thoroughly.
The three ways in which Dry Ice Blasting works:
- Kinetic Energy : Kinetic Energy is transferred by the accelerated dry ice pellet as it hits the surface during the dry ice blasting process. The dry ice pellet sublimates (changes from solid to gas) upon impact and is softer compared to other cleaning media such as sand, grit, or beads. Dry ice blasting is nonabrasive and will not damage most substrate materials or affect tool tolerances.
- Thermal-Shock Effect : Thermal-Shock Effect occurs when cold dry ice pellets (at -109 degrees Fahrenheit) strike a much warmer, contaminated surface during dry ice blasting. The extremely cold temperature of the dry ice causes the bond to weaken between the surface being cleaned and dirt, grime, and other residues. This effect aids in the release of the contaminant when it is struck by the dry ice pellets during dry ice blasting.
- Thermal-Kinetic Effect : Thermal-Kinetic Effect combines the impact of sublimation and the rapid heat transfer discussed above. During dry ice blasting, when the dry ice pellet hits the contaminated surface, the vapor expands so much (up to 800 times the volume of the pellet) and so fast that a micro-explosion occurs, taking off dirt and grime in the dry ice blasting process.