Carbon dioxide (CO2; dry ice) particle media blasting is a technique that can be used to clean equipment and property in a way that is environmentally advantageous as well as having minimal impact on the surface being cleaned.
Contaminants are removed from the substrate by the impact of the CO2 particle. The particle compresses and mushrooms out, creating a high-velocity snow flow that flushes the surface. The dry ice shears and lifts the contaminant off the surface with no damage and leaves no residual waste. This shearing or lifting force is caused by the sublimation (direct transition from solid phase to gaseous phase) of the dry-ice particles resulting in a sudden 400-fold increase in volume of the gas directed along the plane of the substrate.
This unique property means that the dry ice blast medium simply disappears, leaving only the original contaminant to be disposed of. In addition, cleaning in water sensitive areas (e.g. in the vicinity of electrical cabinets) is now practical.
The dry ice used is produced by capturing and recycling CO2 from existing industrial processes such as fermentation and petrochemical refining. The CO2 given off by the above production processes is captured and stored without losses until needed. When the CO2 is returned to the atmosphere during the blasting process, no new CO2 is produced. Instead, only the original CO2 by-product is released. This aspect helps companies that have the need for a small ecological footprint to achieve their goals, while being financially competitive. There is a zero net environmental footprint with this process!