Frequently asked questions about Dry Ice Blasting



1. What is a dry ice blasting?

Cleaning - dry ice blasting is a modern, ecological, non-abrasive method of industrial cleaning. It is a process in which dry ice particles are driven at high speed to hit and clean the surface. Particles are accelerated by compressed air, similarly as in case of other blasting systems.



2. How does it work?

The cleaning process uses three basic factors: kinetic energy, thermal shock and sublimation. At the end of the process, there is only the dirt removed and no further secondary waste, like for example in case of sandblasting.  This makes this method of dry ice cleaning effective, gentle to cleaned materials and at the same time also environmentally friendly. 



3. What is dry ice? 

Dry ice is a solid state of carbon dioxide CO with a temperature of -79° C. Carbon dioxide is found in gaseous form in nature. It is non-toxic and odorless. It is used to saturate drinks, which gives them a fresh taste and prolong their consumption. 



4. Will dry ice melt? 

No. Dry ice is a subject to the process called "sublimation", when a solid substance jumps over its liquid state and changes directly to a gaseous state.



5. How is dry ice stored? 

Dry ice is supplied and stored in insulated containers. A typical storage container can contain 100-200 kg of dry ice and should be used within 5 days of production for best results. It is best to store these containers in well-ventilated, cooler areas to maintain their quality. Due to sublimation, a loss of about 4% of the container contents should be expected every 24 hours.



6. Does dry ice cleaning contribute to the greenhouse effect?

No. Dry ice is very ecological. Although it is made from solid carbon dioxide, it never produces or releases excess carbon dioxide into the environment and does not contribute to the greenhouse effect. In fact, dry ice is still more and more used as an alternative "technology" for processes that are harmful to the environment. 



7. What happens to dry ice when it hits the surface?

It sublimes (changes from solid to gaseous state) and returns to the atmosphere as carbon dioxide (CO2). CO2 is an element of natural origin, representing less than 0.04% of our atmosphere.



8. What happens to contaminants and impurities?

Contaminants can be solid, viscous or liquid (paint, carbon deposits, glue, grease, sugar, ink, impurities ...). During the dry ice blasting process most of the dirt falls on the floor or on the ground, from where such dirt can be removed by vacuum-cleaning or sweeping. 



9. Can dry ice cause damage to the cleaned surface?

We offer blasting equipment that allows very fine cleaning (e.g. printed circuit boards) and equipment designed for aggressive cleaning (cleaning of wood, graffiti, chassis, etc.).



10. Where can I buy dry ice?

Our company is a producer of dry ice. We provide its distribution within the Slovak Republic.  If you regularly consume a large amount of pellets (from 8 tons per month), it is advisable to consider buying a pelletizer and produce dry ice at your own expense. Another option is to find another dry ice distributor in your vicinity. 



11. Does the dry ice blasting process create condensation?

Condensation occurs when the substrate temperature drops below the dew point. Dew point varies according to climate and daily weather. Condensation rarely occurs when cleaning hot substrates, because the surface temperature remains above the dew point.



12. Does dry ice blasting generate static electricity?

Yes, a certain degree of static electricity is not an exception in dry ice blasting. The device is designed with integrated earthing. If the blasting unit and object are properly grounded, it is very unlikely that you will have static discharge problem.



13. Is dry ice blasting safe?

At the temperature of -78.3 °C (-109 °F), we recommend wearing of gloves when in contact with dry ice - you may get burned. You must always wear eye and ear protection when working with dry ice and ventilate the room in which it is handled.



14. What equipment is needed for dry ice blasting?

It is essential to have a dry ice blaster, access to a power supply and a source of compressed air.



15. Is an external source of compressed air necessary?

Yes. The dry ice blaster must be connected to an external source of compressed air with the following data: Operating pressure - 2-8 bar min., compressed air consumption - 0.8m3/min. depending on combination of nozzles. 



16. Is the blasting equipment noisy? 

The noise level can range from 85 to 130 db. Hearing protection is required.



17. How fast is it possible to clean the surface from dirt by using blasting process?

The speed and efficiency of dirt removal depends on a number of factors, including: surface profile of the substrate, thickness of the dirt, strength of the adhesive bond of the coating and the cohesiveness of the coating, etc. 



18. Can dry ice blasting remove rust?

Dry ice blasting removes all loosely adhering oxidation and salts, but does not remove deeply adhering oxidation. 



19. Is it possible to use dry ice blasting on wood? 

Yes. However, blasting of wood with dry ice can increase its roughness - especially of soft wood. Hardwoods generally respond much better to dry ice blasting. 



20. Does dry ice blasting have any environmental consequences?

Dry ice is completely non-toxic. In contrast to other cleaning methods which use water or high-pressure hoses, contaminated water does not leak into the environment. Loose cover film can be swept / vacuumed. Dry ice blasting does not produce toxic fumes from solvents and other chemicals during cleaning. 



21. Does dry ice blasting have thermal effects on cleaned items? 

No. Temperature changes in machinery during dry ice blasting are generally small compared to changes that occur during the normal operation. 



22. Can I minimize downtime, or avoid them totally?

Yes. In many cases, it will be possible to clean the machinery without switching it off. In other cases, it will be possible to shorten duration of downtimes due to cleaning, because the cleaned surfaces remain dry. 



23. What maintenance do blasting equipment require? 

Our equipment is made of high quality components requiring minimal maintenance. These machines are designed to allow end users to perform service and maintenance works without need of professionals. 



24. What can I clean with dry ice?

Dry ice blasting is a universal technology that can be used in almost any industry and application.



25. Is it possible to blast in an enclosed space?

Yes, with proper ventilation. Because CO2 is 40% heavier than air, it is recommended to place the vents at or near ground level when blasting indoors. 



26. What about dry ice blasting compared to other methods?

The advantages of dry ice blasting are the following: time saving, cleaning directly in the production without a need for disassembly, without a need to shut down production, non-abrasive method, non-toxic, non-conductive - also suitable for cleaning of electronics, environmentally friendly.  More information...



27. In which industries is dry ice blasting used?

Dry ice blasting is used in various industries. Automotive industry, energy production, food, pharmaceutical industry, plastics and rubber, aviation, navy, packaging, foundries, printers, wood and paper, disaster recovery, etc. More information at...



28. How do single-hose and dual-hose systems differ? 

In a single hose system, dry ice is mixed with compressed air in the machine itself. It allows the dry ice pellets to achieve higher speed (kinetic energy) and thus the system provides greater cleaning efficiency. In a dual-hose system, dry ice pellets are induced into a blasting gun. When the pellets are mixed with compressed air in a blasting gun, their speed is slower than in a single hose system.



29. How can I get dry ice blasting training?

Our sales managers will train you and your team in our training and demonstration center.  Professionally trained staff will show you how to handle our dry ice blasting systems. You will learn how to use the system most effectively. You will find out which ICS technology is more suitable for a given application.



30. Is dry ice blasting expensive?

Depending on the particular application, dry ice blasting is often a less expensive alternative than other forms of medium blasting. The cleaning process is fast and it allows less or no production downtime. Non-abrasive results allow the elimination of further steps, such as repainting or surface treatment in most cases. In addition, it is not necessary to clean the secondary waste after completion of the process, as no media (e.g. sand or water) remain after its completion.



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