Dry Ice Blasting
Dry Ice or CO2 Blasting is a relatively new cleaning process that uses solid CO2 pellets known as dry ice. Dry ice pellets sublimate once they’ve hit the surface to be cleaned (meaning they transition directly from a solid blast pellet to a vapour) leaving a clean, dry surface with no residue.
Dry ice blasting is ideal for:
- Fire restoration
- Mould remediation
- Bitumen removal
- Cleaning of delicate electrical components
- And more
How Dry Ice Blasting Works
To use dry ice, the proper dry ice blasting equipment and dry ice blasting machines must be used. The dry ice blasting process uses pellets made through the process of taking Liquid Carbon Dioxide (CO2) and expanding it to produce a snow like substance that is compressed to make hard dry ice pellets.
The pellets are then propelled at a supersonic speed by a compressed air gun (similar to other blasting systems). Upon impact, the dry ice creates a micro-thermal shock (caused by the extreme cold temperature of -79º C) which breaks the bond between the coating and the substrate. The high-pressure air stream removes the dirt from the surface, while the dry ice pellets vapourize or sublimate before your eyes.
The Three Powerful Forces of Dry Ice Blasting
- Kinetic Energy Transfer
Dry ice pellets are accelerated by compressed air to high speeds – fracturing the top layer of dirt/residue.
- Micro-Thermal Energy Transfer
The different materials contract unequally and the adherence between them decreases. This thermal difference helps to separate the dirt/residue from the substrate.
- Sublimation Energy Transfer
After the dry ice makes its initial impact, it instantaneously turns from a solid to a gas. The volume expansion (by a factor of 700) causes a micro explosion that detaches the dirt/residue from the substrate.
The Benefits of Dry Ice Blasting
Increases uptime through in-place cleaning: The process is fast, thorough, and can be performed on-line without disassembly and without need for drying time.
Cleans without damaging the substrate: Dry ice blasting is non-abrasive. It quickly removes most contaminates without damage to switches, panels, lines, tubes, wiring or belts.
Reduces or eliminates the need for hazardous solvents: Dry ice blasting replaces chemical or solvent based cleaning and manual scraping.
Quicker and more thorough than cleaning by hand: Get a more detailed and quicker clean with CO2 by getting into tight spaced areas inaccessible by hand.
Safe around electrical components: This versatile process cleans heavy industrial build up without damage to sensitive areas like electrical components, switches, wiring, photo electric sensors, etc.
Dry Ice Blasting Compared to Traditional Cleaning Methods
The dry ice blasting process is superior to blasting with sand, glass beads, and other cleaning methods for numerous reasons. As an eco-friendly cleaning alternative, the dry ice cleaning method is quickly becoming favored for environmental as well as production reasons. Due to the nature of the dry ice blasting process, there is no waste to be disposed of. Tremendous performance gains of little to no production downtime, quality of the clean, no clean-up, and minimized damage to equipment make dry ice blasting a cost-effective cleaning option.
|Blasting Cleaning Technique||Waste for Disposal||Abrasive||Toxic||Electrically Conductive||Performance Comparison|
|* Each of these blasting materials becomes contaminated upon contact if used to clean hazardous objects. When that happens, these materials are then classified as toxic waste requiring safe and proper disposal.|
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