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Dry Ice Blasting explained:
Dry Ice Blasting (Cryogenic Cleaning)
The dry ice blasting process consists of propelling dry ice (CO2) particles at supersonic speeds which impact and clean the surface of the object being blasted. The particles are accelerated by compressed air, just as with other blasting methods. Overall, there are three steps involved in dry ice blasting.
During blasting, dry ice pellets are propelled out of the blasting gun at supersonic speed and impact the surface. The energy transfer knocks off the contaminant without abrasion. The force of this impact is the primary means of cleaning.
The cold temperature during dry ice blasting of the dry ice pellets hitting the contaminant creates a micro-thermal shock (caused by the dry ice temperature of -109º F) between the surface contaminant and the substrate. Cracking and delamination of the contaminant occurs furthering the elimination process.
The final phase of dry ice blasting has the dry ice pellet explode on impact, and as the pellet warms it converts to a harmless CO2 gas which expands rapidly underneath the contaminant surface. This helps loosen the contaminant so it flakes off. The dry ice evaporates, leaving only the contaminant for disposal.
Decreased Downtime through Cleaning In-Place
Typical cleaning procedures require that equipment be disassembled and moved to an assigned area for proper cleaning. That is not the case with dry ice blasting. Equipment can be cleaned in-place and hot in most situations. Because of that, many time-consuming, labor-intensive steps which were required with other methods such as sand blasting can be eliminated. For example, equipment does not need cool down time, disassembly, relocation, reassembly and warm up time. This can shorten the downtime for cleaning equipment from days down to hours.
Faster and More Thorough Cleaning
With dry ice blast cleaning, a superior clean can be achieved while reducing hours when compared to scrubbing with abrasive pads or wire brushes. A tremendous labor savings is accomplished. In addition, the CO2 blasting method cleans in crevices that can't be reached by hand. As a result, equipment runs more efficiently and potential leaks are revealed possibly preventing major system failures.
Less Equipment Damage
Dry ice blasting often eliminates equipment damage. Cleaning methods such as sandblasting leave an aggressive and abrasive effect on the surface. They can actually remove part of the surface, changing the surface structure considerably. Dry ice is non-abrasive to surfaces and does not change a surface's structure. It lifts the contaminants away. Second, because equipment can now be cleaned in place, potential damage from moving equipment to and from a dedicated cleaning area is also eliminated.
Reduction or Elimination of Solvents
Dry ice blasting uses no solvents, but instead uses harmless CO2 pellets. This can be a critical need for certain companies in order to comply with environmental regulations or to improve worker safety. There are no issues pertaining to toxicity with CO2 blasting.
Reduced Waste Disposal
With other cleaning methods, whether it be with solvents, sand blasting or some other means, the cleaning agent becomes a secondary contaminant and must be disposed of as toxic waste along with the primary contaminant. However, with dry ice blast cleaning because the CO2 pellet vaporizes upon contact, the only waste created is the contaminant itself. This alone can result in significant waste reduction.
Dry ice blasting pellets are non-toxic, non-hazardous creating advantages to the environment, your employees, and production facility. There is no secondary waste associated with dry ice blasting. The procedure is safe for workers, does not damage equipment, does not contaminate end products and is environmentally friendly.