Dry ice blasting uses pressurized streams of frozen CO2 to clean surfaces without causing abrasive damage. The particle size can be adjusted from larger pellets for heavy duty cleaning down to fine shavings for detailed or fragile materials. Dry ice blasting is used to remove a variety of contaminants, including glue, paint, rubber, mold, grease, and oil. It is particularly useful for the removal of carbonized material caused by fire damage and industrial use.
Benefits of Dry Ice Blasting
Dry ice blasting is a highly versatile and cost-effective solution that offers myriad benefits for a broad range of industries and applications, including food and beverage, medical, biotech, water treatment, fire suppression, and fire restoration. The advantages of dry ice blasting include:
- Non-abrasiveness. Dry ice is a highly effective medium for cleaning delicate materials and intricate assemblies without scratching or other abrasive damage.
- Efficiency and speed. Dry ice blasting is much quicker and easier than manual cleaning and the equipment itself requires very little maintenance.
- Non-conductive properties. Dry ice is non-conductive, which makes it safe for use in electrical applications.
- Environmentally friendly. Relying on dry ice pellets instead of water and chemical-based cleaning solvents significantly reduces the risk of contaminating the environment.
- Safe. Dry ice blasting requires little-to-no cleanup, as the material dissolves into carbon dioxide gas and dissipates into the surrounding air. As such, operator and operating environment are not exposed to harmful chemicals.
Dry Ice Blasting Compared to Other Methods
There are a variety of other commercial cleaning methods on the market, but dry ice blasting is superior due to its non-abrasive and chemical-free nature. Below is a summary comparison of dry ice blasting compared to other cleaning methods.
Abrasive Blasting vs. Dry Ice Blasting
Dry ice blasting is highly effective even on hard-to-remove waste, such as thick grease and carbonized material. Sand and other abrasives can be used to remove thick contaminants as well, but may also cause damage to the surface. Dry ice will not scratch or abrade the surface of the material being cleaned.
Dry ice blasting is also safer and cleaner than abrasive blasting, which leaves dust and abrasive particles in the air and on the ground of the surrounding area. Dry ice will sublimate into the surrounding environment, while abrasives leave waste material that must be cleaned up.
Pressure and Steam Washing vs. Dry Ice Blasting
Water-based cleaning methods, such as pressure washing and steam blasting are widely used for commercial cleaning. However, these methods require additional time commitments for setup and drying.
They are also limited to surfaces without exposed electronics, plaster/drywall, wood, and other surfaces that may absorb moisture and facilitate mold and mildew growth.
Unlike water and steam, dry ice is non-conductive, so it can be used to clean electrical equipment without risk of electrical damage or shorts. Dry ice blasting also requires no additional time for drying.
Chemicals and Solvents vs. Dry Ice Blasting
When compared with commonly used chemicals and solvents, dry ice blasting is a superior cleaning method. Unlike cleaning solutions, dry ice blasting is non-toxic and does not produce secondary waste. Overall, this makes it a safer and more environmentally-friendly cleaning option.
In addition, the CO2 used to make dry ice pellets is typically captured as a byproduct of other industrial activities and repurposed. Dry ice blasting is ultimately a carbon-neutral process, as it is not creating additional CO2 or releasing it into the environment.