As advancements are made in the vast realm of technology that drives industries, so do the solutions for maintaining and cleaning the equipment that makes these changes possible. One such industrial cleaning solution is dry ice blasting, which is making great strides to replace traditional and often hazardous cleaning techniques.
Dry ice blasting offers many benefits that are unparalleled by other cleaning methods and solutions, and it is considered to be one of the most sustainable and environmentally friendly industrial cleaning options on the market.
In this article, we will look at the process of dry ice blasting to help you better understand how it works. We will also review some of dry ice blasting’s many benefits, as well as some of its limitations.
What Is Dry Ice Blasting?
Dry ice blasting, also known as “CO2 blasting” or “cryogenic cleaning,” is a cleaning method that uses solid carbon dioxide pellets as its blasting media, providing a non-abrasive alternative to traditional blasting methods.
In the past, sandblasting has been one of the most common forms of pressurized cleaning methods. Although the name “sandblasting” might lead one to believe that sand is used as an abrasive in this type of cleaning, this is only partially true. There are many different mediums used for sandblasting, including silica, aluminum, glass, and plastic. However, these blasting mediums have one thing in common: they are abrasive and messy.
The pressurized stream of blasting media creates a mechanical process in which the outer layer of a surface is removed through kinetic force. This is kind of like sandpaper on steroids. As the blasting media comes into contact with the surface under extreme pressure, surface contaminants are quickly and easily removed, revealing a clean substrate.
Dry ice blasting works similarly, but instead of using a solid blasting medium to remove surface contaminants through kinetic force, it uses the energy created by rapid temperature changes to strip contaminants from the substrate.
When the dry ice pellets strike the surface, they rapidly transfer their kinetic energy through a process known as sublimation. Sublimation occurs when a solid converts directly into a gas, bypassing the liquid state. This abrupt energy transfer causes micro explosions on the surface, breaking the bond between the contaminants and the substrate.
This process can effectively lift and remove contaminants such as dirt, grease, oil, paint, adhesives, and more without causing damage to the underlying surface.
What Are the Benefits of Dry Ice Blasting?
Beyond the fact that dry ice blasting is an extremely effective cleaning technique, it also offers many additional benefits that abrasive mediums and chemicals are unable to match.
Dry Ice Blasting Is Non-Abrasive
Although we’ve already mentioned this in passing, it is important to highlight this benefit of dry ice blasting as it is one of the most important advantages of using dry ice blasting over other cleaning methods.
Because the dry ice pellets instantly convert into a gaseous state upon coming into contact with the surface that is being cleaned, there is no solid material present that can damage the surface. This means that dry ice blasting is safe for cleaning a variety of different surfaces that abrasives and aggressive chemicals may otherwise damage.
Dry Ice Blasting Creates No Waste
Unlike traditional cleaning methods that use chemicals or solvents, dry ice blasting leaves no residue or secondary waste behind. This makes dry ice blasting particularly advantageous compared to sandblasting, which can leave large amounts of abrasive that will need to be cleaned up afterward.
Dry Ice Blasting Is Environmentally Friendly
Dry ice blasting is considered a green cleaning method due to its minimal environmental impact, as it does not involve the use of water, chemicals, or hazardous cleaning agents. Although it does release CO2 into the atmosphere, this carbon dioxide is a byproduct of other industrial processes, which is then recycled, thereby reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
Dry Ice Blasting Requires Little Downtime
Because dry ice blasting can be used on sensitive surfaces and does not involve any moisture, most things can be cleaned in place without the need for removal or disassembly. For example, if you were to use dry ice blasting to clean a piece of electronic equipment, you would be able to clean all of the electrical components and wires without needing to cover or remove anything.
On the other hand, if you were to clean a machine using more traditional cleaning methods, you would likely need to remove and disassemble the equipment in order to protect its more sensitive components against abrasives and aggressive chemicals.
Dry Ice Blasting Is Cost-Effective
Although dry ice blasting requires a larger upfront investment than other cleaning methods, it can save money in the long run because of its quick turnaround and minimal downtime.
What Are the Challenges of Dry Ice Blasting?
Dry ice blasting is a versatile and effective cleaning method that is useful for many applications, but it does have some limitations.
Dry Ice Blasting Is Less Aggressive Than Other Cleaning Methods
In some applications, such as rust and paint removal, dry ice blasting may be less effective than other cleaning techniques, such as sandblasting and chemicals. While dry ice blasting effectively removes surface contaminants, it will not remove substances that are thoroughly bonded to the substrate.
Also, when it comes to removing rust, it may be necessary to remove the outer layer of the substrate since rust is able to penetrate metals through chemical reactions. Dry ice blasting will remove loose rust from the surface, but it will not eliminate oxidation that is deeply embedded in the substrate.
Dry Ice Blasting Requires Extreme Air Pressure
For dry ice blasting to be effective, it requires a large amount of air pressure that can only be generated by high-powered air compressors. This is one factor that can make dry ice blasting less attainable for the average person since most common household air compressors are not able to provide sufficient pressure for an extended period of time.
Professional Dry Ice Blasting in Burlington, Wisconsin
If you’re looking for a fast and effective cleaning method for your home or business in Burlington, Wisconsin, Raw Restoration Blasting has the expertise and equipment you need. Here at Raw Restoration Blasting, we specialize in removing surface contaminants in a wide variety of industrial, automotive, and marine applications.
Dry ice blasting is also safe for food production and medical settings, making it a perfect solution for almost any type of heavy-duty cleaning need.
If you would like to learn more about how dry ice blasting can save you time and money, click here to get in touch with Raw Restoration Blasting in Burlington, Wisconsin!