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The importance of dry air with dry ice blasting

Posted by The Cold Jet Team on Dec 16, 2019 7:43:00 AM

dry ice system setup


When utilizing a portable diesel compressor in your dry ice blasting operation, it’s important to take the appropriate steps to ensure you’re using dry air. Diesel compressors often supply hot and moist air, which can alter the integrity of your dry ice and hamper the performance of your dry ice blasting system.

The continual energy from the engine on the compressor produces hot air, directly in competition with the dry ice. Since the thermal shock effect of dry ice blasting depends on the incredible temperature difference between dry ice and the contaminant to break the contaminant’s connection to the surface, the integrity of the dry ice must be maintained.

Hot or moist air from the compressor threatens this process.

diesel air compressor

What are some concerns to look for?

  1. Dew point

If the temperature of the air drops below the dew point, this will cause moisture within the dry ice blasting machine and potentially lead to clogging in the flow of the dry ice through the system. 


  1. Moisture on the surface

The compressor generates moisture which could pass through the system and be deposited onto the surface.


What’s the solution?

An Aftercooler will cool down the hot air coming from the compressor and causes little to no effect on the integrity of the dry ice.  The Aftercooler also contains a water separator that traps moisture.


The Cold Jet Aftercooler:

  • Removes 2/3 of the water that’s found in the forms of ambient air and humidity
  • Decreases air temperature below dew point and drains this water from the condenser bowl
  • Cools air down so you don’t see temperature differential between dry ice and ambient air on the surface


It’s important to understand that the Aftercooler should be as close to the machine and the application as possible. If you put it downstream close to the compressor, the air will cool down after it passes through, but once it travels the distance to the machine it will gradually heat back up.

The effectiveness of the Aftercooler can also be affected by climate and geography. Drier climates, such as the Midwest region of the United States, are ideal for the Aftercooler. On the other hand, more humid climates might require other methods to ensure dry air. 


The takeaway

Whatever your environment, it’s important to understand the effect that hot or wet air has on the performance of your dry ice blaster. When you can limit or eliminate excess moisture, the performance of your dry ice blaster will greatly improve. 

The Aftercooler enables the operator the ability to control the moisture in their blasting environment, allowing them to effectively blast in virtually all temperatures and humidity levels.

Contact us today if you're experiencing issues with wet or hot compressed air >>

Dry Ice Blasting Basics