What is Dry Ice Blasting?

In the simplest of terms, dry ice blasting (sometimes called dry ice cleaningis a form of non-abrasive blasting, where dry ice, the solid form of carbon dioxide, is accelerated to supersonic speeds in a pressurized air stream, and directed at a surface in order to clean it.  However, the technology, and equipment needed to make this happen are anything but simple.

This method is similar to abrasive forms of blasting such as sand blasting, bead blasting, or soda blasting, in that a media is used for blasting.  

But that's where the similarity ends. Instead of using hard abrasive media to grind on a surface (and damage it), dry ice media is actually quite soft, and is much less dense than other media used in blast cleaning.  Upon impact, the dry ice sublimates almost immediately, transferring minimal kinetic energy to the surface.  This produces minimal abrasion.  The sublimation process absorbs a large volume of heat from the surface, producing shear stresses due to thermal shock  The dry ice expands to 600 times it's original size upon impact.  The rapid change from solid form to gas also causes microscopic shock waves, which assist in removing the contaminant.  After sublimation, there's no water, no moisture, and no chemicals left behind. The only thing left is the contaminant that was blasted off the surface, ready to be easily picked up.

Our machines can shave dry ice (think of snow), or propel rice-sized pellets.  Not many machines can do this, and it's important that you choose a company that utilizes machinery that can do both.  Not all cleaning jobs are the same, so why would you utilize just one method of delivering the dry ice.  Smaller, more delicate cleaning yields better results with shaved dry ice, since it can get into smaller spaces.  Rougher, larger, more aggressive cleaning gets better results when pellets are used to break up the contaminates.  Sometimes, you should use both on the same cleaning job.  It's also important to have a machine that can deliver high-pressure (up to 300 PSI) when needed.  Not all equipment can truly deliver high pressure.  All of our equipment can utilize high pressure when needed.

Besides having the right machinery, the right hoses, and nozzles must also be chosen.  There's a tremendous amount of technology in the development of nozzle technology.  A company that understands how and when to use the different ones available makes a huge difference.  We put a lot of time and money into our equipment, and our employees, to make sure you're getting the best value for your investment in us.

Dry Ice Blasting in Chicago and Throughout the Midwest


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