Dry ice (frozen carbon dioxide) blasting is similar in many respects to other types of blasting. The dry ice pellets are blasted at a surface to remove surface contamination, coatings, etc. This method is ideal for use with electronics, food processing equipment and areas where moisture and/or grit contamination can not be tolerated.
The Dry ice blasting process is not completely understood. The dry ice sublimates immediately after blasting. The process seems to involve ‘attacking’ the surface contamination with a combination of kinetic energy transfer and microscopic thermal variations at the blasting point. Because of the non-abrasiveness of carbon dioxide very sensitive surfaces can be blasted with little or no affect on the substrate. Due to the sublimation of the media the only residue to clean up is the material blasted off the surface.
Because specialty equipment is required to keep the dry ice cold and the obvious non-reusability of the media, dry ice blasting is an expensive and specialty blasting process. Care should also be taken to make sure that proper air flow is maintained in any enclosed environments as carbon dioxide can build up over time and replace oxygen in the area.