Carbon dioxide blasting, also known as dry ice blasting, is a technologically advanced industrial cleaning method in mold remediation and fire restoration. It is similar to sandblasting in that the cleaning medium is sprayed under pressure and while sharp-edged sand particles can damage surfaces, dry ice actually lifts the contaminant away.
Here is how it works: The dry ice blasting machine combines carbon dioxide, liquefied into pellets at a temperature of about -109.3°F (-78.5°C), with air compressed at 80 PSI. This mixture is forced out under pressure through a nozzle onto the surface to be cleaned. Upon impact with the much warmer surface, the dry ice sublimes into a gas, expanding to a volume of 800 times that of the liquid pellets. These micro-explosions create sheer stresses in the layers of contaminating material which cause them to lose their cohesion (HERE is a good video of dry ice blasting on a sensitive piece of machinery. Note how little the machine parts are disturbed in the process.)
Not only is CO2 blasting nonabrasive, it is nonflammable and nonpolluting; the carbon dioxide that is released merely disperses into the air. Depending on the level of pressure used, it can be adapted for many cleaning purposes from removing smoke from home interiors at a gentle pressure to removing weld slag from tooling at a high pressure. It effectively removes oil, grease, tar, paint, ground-in dirt, resins, adhesives, soot and other toxic residues from fires. The equipment or machinery need not be disassembled prior to cleaning and there is no drying time involved. Dry ice blasting also sanitizes by stopping the growth of mold, mildew and fungus.
The few drawbacks to dry-ice blasting are the level of noise the machine produces which requires the operator to wear ear protection and the release of carbon dioxide which requires adequate ventilation in the workplace.
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