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Dry Ice Cleaning
Dry ice cleaning is a relatively new cleaning process using solid CO2 pellets (known as dry ice). It is primarily used for industrial use in a variety of applications. The pellets sublimate (convert directly from a solid blast pellet to a vapor (CO2) leaving no residue. The dry ice cleaning process is superior to blasting with sand or glass bead and other types of cleaning methods for numerous reasons (see Dry Ice Cleaning Comparison Chart below).
What Is Dry Ice
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What Is Dry Ice Cleaning
It is a process in which dry ice particles are propelled to supersonic speed, to impact and clean a surface. The particles are accelerated by compressed air, just as with other blasting systems.
The micro-thermal shock (caused by the dry ice temperature of -79º C), the kinetic energy of dry ice pellets and the air pressure break the bond between the coating and the substrate. It pops off the coating from inside out and the air stream removes it from the surface.
Industries can utilize the dry ice blasting cleaning method through equipment that fires the pellets through a blasting gun. Upon impact the dry ice sublimates (vaporizes). There are many major benefits to this cleaning process. To read of them in detail, see our Dry Ice Cleaning Benefits page.
Dry Ice Blasting Process
With the dry ice blasting process, dry ice (CO2) particles are propelled to supersonic speed impacting and cleaning a surface. The particles are accelerated by compressed air, just as with other blasting methods. Overall, there are three steps involved in dry ice blasting. It can be better understood in the following example:
Step #1 - Energy Transfer
With dry ice 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.
Step #2 - Micro-Thermal Shock
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 -79º C) between the surface contaminant and the substrate. Cracking and delamination of the contaminant occurs furthering the elimination process.
Step #3 - Gas Pressure
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 forces off the contaminant from behind. The contaminant is then relocated, typically falling to the ground.. Since the dry ice evaporates, only the contaminant is left for disposal.
Dry Ice Cleaning for the Plastics Industry
Dry Ice cleaning systems effectively clean:
- Extruder screws
- Packaging equipment
- Mold machines
Dry Ice systems can reduce or remove:
- Gloss levels
- Release agents
- Product residues
- Glue from glue heads
- Outgassing issues
- Mold damage
- Hand scrubbing
- Solvent usage