What is dry ice blasting? We get that question a lot. Dry ice blasting is also known as dry ice cleaning, which is why we also get the question, “Why would you clean dry ice?”
Most folk’s experience with dry ice is limited to using it for food preservation over long trips or using it to make a fog like effect in Halloween decorations. Yet, dry ice has a number of commercial and industrial applications. Dry ice cleaning, or dry ice blasting, is one of the most common uses for dry ice in industrial and manufacturing settings.
So what is it?
Dry ice cleaning 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 cleaning uses solid carbon dioxide (CO2) pellets or MicroParticles, which are blasted at supersonic speeds and sublimate on impact, lifting dirt and contaminants off the underlying substrate.
Properties of dry ice blasting
- Environmentally responsible
- Compressed air source (either plant air or an air compressor)
- Electric power source
- Dry ice supply
Types of dry ice media used for dry ice blasting
The size and density of the dry ice particle greatly affects the resulting clean. Different sized particles are used for different cleaning applications.
There are two types of media used in the process.
1) Dry ice pellets
2) Dry ice MicroParticles
1) Dry ice pellets
- 3mm in size (roughly rice sized)
- Used for a more aggressive clean, getting rid of the most stubborn contaminants
- Sugar-sized particles
- Used to clean delicate and sensitive surfaces
- Less aggressive than pellets
- More media strikes the surface per second
- Increased coverage area
- More particle strikes per square inch
- Less air power is needed to accelerate dry ice (less noise)