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Dustless blasting without the water

Posted by The Cold Jet Team on Feb 3, 2020 10:13:00 AM


If you’ve heard of dustless blasting, you know it’s becoming the preferred choice for surface preparation and corrosion/coating removal.  While the title “dustless” blasting is a bit of a misnomer, given that it’s impossible to deliver completely dustless blasting when abrasive blasting is needed, there are solutions out there that drastically reduce dust clouds.

These solutions allow for industrial surface preparation without the resulting dust plumes that impair vision, create massive amounts of secondary waste, and are harmful to workers and the environment.   

But did you know that adding an abrasive to dry ice blasting is the best dustless blasting solution? Dry ice blasting + an abrasive eliminates the negatives of other dustless blasting options, such as secondary waste cleanup and water containment and collection.

The unique characteristics of dry ice make it the perfect cleaning media if you’re looking for minimal dust and waste.


How dry ice blasting works

Dry ice blasting is an environmentally responsible cleaning and surface preparation technique.

It is similar to sand, bead and soda blasting in that it prepares and cleans surfaces using a media accelerated in a pressurized air stream. It differs in that dry ice blasting uses solid carbon dioxide (CO2) pellets, which are blasted at supersonic speeds and sublimate (turn back to gas) on impact, lifting dirt and contaminants off the underlying substrate.

dry ice blasting and abrasive

Adding an abrasive to dry ice blasting

Dry ice is a gentle medium and in some applications that need a more aggressive removal method, adding an abrasive to the blast stream increases the cleaning power of dry ice. 

Adding an abrasive to dry ice blasting boosts its aggression and effectively removes paint, coatings and corrosion, while eliminating the issues with traditional methods of removal.   

Dry ice sublimates back to a CO2 gas when it hits the surface and because CO2 is heavier than air, it suppresses the added media and any contaminant that is removed from the surface from going airborne.


Why dry ice blasting + an abrasive over alternatives?

Benefits of dry ice blasting + an abrasive:

  • Significantly reduces dust and waste generated by traditional methods
  • Uses considerably less abrasive media than traditional methods
  • Does not leave residual media on the surface being cleaned (no secondary wash)
  • Does not require drying time (no water used in cleaning process)

dry ice blasting plus an abrasive

Significantly reduces dust levels – up to 97%

Some dustless blasting options, such as slurry blasting and vapor blasting, use water with an abrasive to capture dust molecules and keep them from going airborne. While this is effective at reducing dust levels, the method still creates a considerable amount of waste. As well, water as a medium slows down the abrasive particle velocity, which thereby, limits productivity. 

Dry ice blasting mixed with an abrasive seeks the best of both worlds. As the dry ice impacts the surface and sublimates from a solid to a gas, that gas suppresses the dust from going airborne. Studies have confirmed that with a dry ice + abrasive solution, dust levels are reduced by 97% as compared to other blasting methods.

Because of this, there is no tedious cleanup and time spent on encapsulation, waste collection, and waste disposal. For example, water + abrasive cleaning necessitates setup of a containment to collect and dispose of wastewater. 

The reduced dust levels also leads to increased operator visibility, which makes it easier for the operator to effectively clean.  The increased visibility can clearly be seen in the video above, which compares dry + abrasive with water + abrasive blasting.

*97% reduction figure refers to Cold Jet’s propriety E-CO2 dry ice blasting + abrasive solution.  Testing results are 3rd party verified.


Use less abrasive than other dustless blasting options

The dry ice + abrasive solution requires significantly less media input than alternative options.  The dry ice + abrasive solution uses 100-150 pounds of media per hour, as opposed to 600 pounds or more per hour from traditional options.

The solution also cleans faster than many wet abrasive options.  Water slows down the abrasive particle velocity and limits productivity, which results in a slower clean. Water based solutions also rely primarily on the kinetic force to remove contaminants, which is generated by the media impacting the surface.  The dry ice solution relies on kinetic force as well, but also incorporates two other factors (Thermal Shock Effect and Thermal-Kinetic Effect) that lead to a more efficient cleaning process. 

This results in dry ice being a more efficient medium per cleaning area, which results in less overall media being used on each project.


No drying time or secondary wash

The dry ice + abrasive solution leaves the surface completely dry and free of residue, which eliminates hours of drying time and allows you to apply a new coat of paint or coating immediately following the cleaning process.  Because there is no residue left on the surface after cleaning, there is no need for a secondary wash to remove the contaminants.

The dry ice + abrasive mixture also eliminates the need for containment setup and waste collection.  All this, coupled with the fact that dry ice + abrasive cleans faster, results in a major reduction in project time.

ECO2 dustless  blastingCold Jet’s dry ice + abrasive solution: The E-CO2 150

If you’re looking for a dustless blasting option that meets your standards of quality, dry ice + abrasive has the greatest combination of benefits, including increased efficiency, higher productivity, and safer for both the operator and the environment.  

The E-CO2 150 combines a Cold Jet dry ice blasting machine (PLT 60, Aero 80 or C100) with a custom 1.5 cubic feet pressurized abrasive pot. The system has been developed specifically to feed Cold Jet’s proprietary mix of dry ice and an abrasive medium.  The custom blast pot enables users to experience accurate dosing of abrasive material, self-regulating capabilities and integration of applicator control mechanisms to ensure dry ice and the abrasive feed together simultaneously when the trigger is pulled.

The proprietary solution has been 3rd party verified to reduce dust levels by up to 97%; thereby, making it safer for the operator, surrounding workforce, and adjacent environment.

The E-CO2 150 also offers a stronger degree of versatility, allowing for non-destructive cleaning with just dry ice and also more aggressive cleaning with Cold Jet’s propriety abrasive mix while remaining environmentally responsible. You can feel confident in knowing that once you pull up to a job that you’ll be able to tackle it with the E-CO2 150.

If dustless blasting is the future, Cold Jet’s dry ice + abrasive solution will take the industry there.


Learn more about dry ice blasting + an abrasive for your dustless blasting needs

Dry Ice Blasting Basics, Dry Ice Blasting + Abrasive