What is Dry Ice Blasting?
Dry ice blasting is a revolutionary cleaning technology. From the toughest industrial cleaning to the most delicate residential remediation, dry ice blasting is effective, safe, and requires minimal cleanup when the job is done. And since the process is not abrasive, the underlying material is not damaged, scored, or worn away.
Dry ice blasting propels pellets of dry ice at high speeds. When the pellets contact a surface, their kinetic energy creates thousands of microscopic “explosions” which lift oil, grime, and debris away while leaving the underlying surface untouched.
What is dry ice?
Dry ice is the solid form of carbon dioxide. It’s basically a frozen gas, but when dry ice evaporates, it leaves no water or other residue. The primary use for dry ice has been food preservation. Dry ice is inexpensive, easily manufactured, and readily available.
How does dry ice blasting work?
Dry ice blasting has proven to be one of the safest and most effective cleaning technologies yet developed. It works much like highly abrasive sand blasting and soda blasting, and is more effective than steam or water blasting, without the potential for structural damage or the expense of clean up.
Dry ice is extremely cold – around minus 110°F. When dry ice pellets are blasted at supersonic speeds, the combination of sub-freezing temperature and high velocity cause the material it contacts to instantly loosen from the underlying surface. And when the ice pellets make contact, they instantly revert to carbon dioxide gas – there’s no water, sand, grit, or chemicals to clean up.
Is dry ice blasting safe?
Dry ice blasting provides extremely safe, environmentally friendly, and sustainable cleaning. The only component of dry ice is carbon dioxide (this is the gas your lungs produce when you exhale). Carbon dioxide is not poisonous in this usage, but it can displace oxygen, so ventilation while cleaning is important. The low temperature of dry ice, combined with the high velocity of blasting, means protective gear should be worn.
Dry ice blasting is both EPA & FDA approved and is particularly suitable for the food service industry. The FDA recommends dry ice blasting for food processing equipment, and it actually decontaminates surfaces infected with Salmonella, E. coli, and Listeria.
For residential structures, dry ice blasting is the ultimate solution for removing toxic molds, mildew, fire damage, and toxic spray-foam insulation. It can be used without removing wiring and HVAC ductwork, and it doesn’t introduce grit or dangerous chemicals into the home.
Dry ice blasting vs. sand blasting and soda blasting.
Dry ice blasting is highly superior to other forms of pressure blasting. The unique blend of low temperature and high velocity causes grease, paint, soot, ink, decals, adhesives and other undesirable coatings to essentially “blast themselves” from the underlying surface. And at the moment this happens, the dry ice converts to gas which dissipates into the air. Sand blasting and soda blasting leave fine particles of grit everywhere, which means you have to clean up when your cleanup is done! For this reason, many items to be sand blasted must be removed from the premises and taken to a special facility. Dry ice blasting can be used on-site, and usually manufacturing and business operations can continue in the same area.
Sand blasting and soda blasting are also abrasive processes, and will damage the underlying structure, even scoring and pitting metal. Dry ice blasting can be used for delicate cleanup jobs.
The silica particles used in sand blasting can also cause silicosis, a serious lung disease.
Dry ice blasting vs. pressure washing or steam cleaning.
Pressure washing and steam cleaning both involve one thing: water, and lots of it. In some situations this may not be a problem. But water can be extremely damaging to structures and can cause corrosion and rust in industrial equipment. And water also requires cleanup when the job is done.
With dry ice blasting, electrical components can be returned to service immediately, without waiting to dry. Water and steam are highly inefficient compared to dry ice blasting.
Is dry ice blasting a do-it-yourself project?
Dry ice blasting requires equipment that works at very high pressures, and involves handling extremely cold dry ice, which can cause freezer burns or frostbite. When used in enclosed spaces, it requires adequate ventilation. Ice blasting technicians need suitable training, and the equipment to store large quantities of dry ice pellets at sub-freezing temperatures.
Is dry ice blasting right for my cleanup needs?
The best way to find out is to contact a dry ice blasting specialist. Look for someone with experience in the type of cleaning you need (such as industrial, residential, or food service), with well-trained technicians and experience with residential or industrial cleaning. Experience, training, well-maintained equipment, and solid logistical planning for ventilation and safety are critical for a successful cleaning. IAQM are experts in dry ice blasting – we have the most advanced equipment, experienced technicians, and a track record of successful projects and happy (even amazed) customers. Learn more about Dry Ice Blasting for industrial cleaning at this link, or contact us to learn more.