For more delicate or fragile substrates or in environments intolerant to excess blasting medium, Dry Ice blasting is a popular and practical option. Dry Ice is far less coarse than typical abrasive mediums, creates no blasting medium residue and very often can be used in dust and debris-sensitive environments.
Dry Ice blasting works somewhat like high-pressure water or steam cleaning, but is much more efficient for two reasons. First, the frigid temperature of the dry ice (-109.3°F or -78.5°C) causes undesired materials to shrink and lose adhesion from its sub surface. Second, when dry ice contacts the underlying surface, it warms and converts back to carbon dioxide gas which has 800 times greater volume, expanding behind the material to speed up its removal.
Additional benefits of dry ice blasting:
- only removed material requires disposal as the dry ice sublimates into the atmosphere
- offers a non-abrasive, non flammable and non-conductive cleaning method
- environmentally-friendly due to complete absence of secondary contaminants such as solvents or grit media
- approved for use in the food industry
- allows most items to be cleaned in place without time-consuming disassembly
- does not damage active electrical or mechanical parts or create fire hazards
Paint, oil, grease, asphalt, tar, decals, soot, dirt, ink, resins, and adhesives are some of the materials removed with dry ice blasting.
Dry ice on the Mohs scale is around a 2. The Mohs scale is based off a diamond being a 10 as the hardest and talc as 1, the softest.