What Is Dry Ice Blasting? Everything in this 1 Perfect Guide

By Dryicex

What Is Dry Ice Blasting? [USES AND EFFECTS]

Dry ice blasting is a non-destructive way of safely cleaning surfaces and/or removing undesirable coatings such as paint or rust. Dry ice is carbon dioxide solidified at 78.5°C (109.3°F).

What Is Dry Ice Blasting? Basically, pressurized air and dry ice pellets are used to “blast clean” a surface. Dry ice (CO2 pellets) in the blast stream generates an explosive sublimation. Dry ice blasting is chosen over other media blasting processes such as glass bead, plastic bead, or sandblasting because of this chain reaction.

What is Dry Ice Blasting?

What Is Dry Ice Blasting? Consider initially a home pressure washer to grasp dry ice blasting. To clean a surface, an electric pressure washer simply accelerates water with compressed air and propels it through a nozzle.

The “media” used in a pressure washer is just water (in some cases a detergent is added to the stream). However, this method wastes water and is ineffective for cleaning tough stains, coatings, debris, and pollutants.

What Is Dry Ice Blasting? Pressurized water may also harm delicate cleaning surfaces including electrical equipment, cables, and precision machined equipment (just to name a few).

Instead, dry ice blasting machines employ compressed air and dry ice particles/pellets. Using dry ice blasting takes use of kinetics (physics) and thermodynamics, resulting in a better cleaning procedure.


Dry ice blasting is an interesting scientific procedure.

However, let us start with a basic non-scientific description. After being “blasted” with fine CO2 (dry ice) particles, undesired impurities freeze and shatter, causing an energy explosion that removes unwanted coatings such as grease, paint, and rust.


What Is Dry Ice Blasting? Everything in this 1 Perfect Guide

3 Quick Effects (in milliseconds)

Stage One Effect: Surface pollutants are rapidly frozen, brittle, and broken during the initial thermal shock step of dry ice blasting.
Stage Two Effect: This stage produces an impact shock that breaks apart brittle and cracked coatings or contaminants.
Stage Three Effect / Expansion Shock: An explosive event occurs owing to fast heat transmission and dry ice sublimation (vaporization). The CO2 pellets’ contact force sweeps away undesirable surface pollutants, dirt, stains, or coatings.

Dry Ice Blasting History

What Is Dry Ice Blasting? The US Navy used dry ice blasting for cleaning for the first time in late 1945. The US Navy’s initial dry ice blasting tests were done by gunnery and dock maintenance staff. They did these tests because they needed a less abrasive cleaning procedure. Sandblasting was the major medium used before ice blasting.

What Is Dry Ice Blasting? Unilever developed its dry ice blasting technique and technology in 1959 to neatly and securely remove animal flesh from bone. This was the first documented usage of dry ice blasting in the food processing business, and it spread quickly.

What Is Dry Ice Blasting? The first CO2 pellets for blasting media were created by C.H. Franklin, C.C. Wong, and E.E. Rice in the early to mid-1970s. Then industry R&D experts experimented with cost-effective techniques to mass make dry ice pellets.

What Is Dry Ice Blasting? The first commercial and industrial dry ice blasting equipment appeared in the late 1980s. These dry ice blast cleaning devices were big, heavy, costly, and required high air pressure (up to 210 psi).

What Is Dry Ice Blasting? Compressed air supply systems, nozzles, CO2 media mixing/delivery, machine housing design, and mobility improved dry ice blast cleaning equipment and technologies.

In 2012, Coulson Ice Blast designed and built the world’s first ice blast devices that used wet ice media. A cost-effective, ecologically friendly, and health-conscious cleaning solution, this invention cuts expenses and expands application options. In 2019, Coulson Ice Blast merged wet and dry ice blasting into one piece of equipment, the IceStorm45.

3 Main Benefits of Dry Ice Blasting


1) Reduced Surface Area Damage

Surfaces may be damaged by cleaning procedures that use compressed air and “media” such as plastic beads, glass beads, sand, aluminium oxide, and silicon carbide. Scarring and/or delamination may result.

2) Less Ecological Impact

Other blast cleaning mediums are typically less eco-friendly, depending on the cleaning specialist and the locality (s). Some or all of the media may be left behind, leaking into sewers, lakes, streams, oceans, and/or soil.

3) Workplace Safety

Most alternative blast cleaning media, such as glass, sand, plastic, aluminium oxide, silicon carbide, etc., might harm the operators’ or others’ health if not utilized properly.

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