A Guide to Dry Ice Blasting
February 9, 2021
Dry ice blasting is an advanced form of non-traditional carbon dioxide cleaning method, in which dry ice, essentially the solid form of carbon dioxide, is blasted on to a surface in order to clean it. Dry ice blasting differs from traditional methods in its methodology and the equipment used. The difference is primarily found in the nature of the pressurised air.
The Benefits of Dry Ice Blasting
Using dry ice blasting as an abrasive cleaning method opens new avenues for reducing pollution while producing safer conditions for the people who live and work in close proximity to such equipment. Using this technique, industries can reduce their emission of CO2, use more environmentally safe products, and improve their air quality. In the right circumstances, the technique can even promote healing in cases where conventional cleaners have failed. This means that this technique has a very real and significant impact on a company’s bottom line, not to mention its health and safety. In fact, as a leading green energy consultant writes in his book, “The Cleaner, The Builder: Choosing Green Solutions for the Built Environment”, dry ice blasting “is one of the most ecologically conscious and economically sound choices available.” As a result, not only is it environmentally friendly but it is also a cost-effective cleaning method.
What Happens in The Process
During dry ice blasting, the compressed CO2 gas is directed against a specified surface and driven against the air in front of the target material. The gas travels at the speed of sound through the nozzle and at the same time pushes the debris to the ground or out of the air by vibrating the impacting particles. A low-pressure stream of air pushing against the compressed CO2 causes the gas to expand to a very high temperature, whilst preventing it from entering into a liquid medium such as water. The expanding temperatures make the material loosens and therefore entrained within the liquid. This process then leaves behind a wake of warm bubbles that fill up any pore or crack, and this process can take up to six hours depending on the size of the area to be cleaned.
Unlike flushing, steam cleaning, and abrasive blasting, which may have to be repeatedly done to remove leftover residue, using dry ice blasting only requires one blast and a lot less effort on your part. The process only needs to be started by packing in a small amount of compressed air and activating the dry ice blasting device. After this is done, all you need to do is wait. The compressed air will heat the pellet, which expands to create a highly concentrated stream of vapour that will blow away any remaining trace of contamination. However one of the biggest drawbacks is the risk that the debris will escape into the air and start irritating nearby residents. But despite that concern, this blasting method remains popular among many industries because it is easy and the costs are low.