Dry ice blasting or CO2 blasting is a technique that is similar to traditional sand blasting or media blasting. It involves launching a media at an object at high speeds to remove an undesirable material or coating. The difference with dry ice blasting is all about the media being used, dry ice. Dry ice is softer than sand or even plastic beads so it is safer for the material being cleaned. It can allow a cleaning technician to clean a surface without damaging it.
Dry ice blasting has a number of different advantages that make it a good choice for industrial and commercial cleaning projects. Some of these benefits are listed below.
- It is non abrasive so it does not damage materials being cleaned.
- It is clean enough to be used in the food production industries.
- It leaves no additional residues because it turns directly back into a gas.
- It is safe for use on electrical equipment.
- It can be used to clean delicate materials that other forms of blasting would destroy.
- It prevents the need to disassemble equipment.
- It is environmentally friendly because it turns back into a gas on contact.
- It kills bacteria and mold on contact.
So, how does it work? This process uses compressed air to accelerate frozen CO2 (carbon dioxide) pellets to a high velocity. The pellets used are made from food grade CO2. Upon contact with a material, the dry ice immediately converts back to the gas form. This creates a tiny explosion that safely cleans the surface. The temperature of the dry ice, -109 degrees Fahrenheit, also causes contaminants to lose their bond to a material.
There are few downsides to the use of dry ice blasting. The main disadvantage is the cost of this process. It is higher than other forms of blasting because of the cost of the dry ice itself. Workers must also be careful of CO2 gas buildup in confined areas. Proper ventilation must be used to avoid the dangers of asphyxiation.