A Dry Ice Overview

So you may ask, “Why dry ice? What makes it unique and special?”  There are a number of things you can do and/or services with dry ice that you can’t do with other cleaning methods like chemical/brush/sponge cleaning or sand/soda blasting.

First, dry ice is completely non-conductive, which means that it does not conduct electricity.  If your machine (and your technician) is properly grounded, you can blast electrical generating equipment while it is on and the electricity is flowing!  Obviously this would be a big plus for power companies like PGE and Pacific Power, but it also benefits other companies like factory owners.  Equipment can be cleaned in-place and on, without having to power down, cool down or disassemble!  This saves valuable downtime, and means that your equipment is safe throughout the process.

Second, dry ice is non-abrasive.  This means that, unlike sand or soda, it does not use impact and friction to do its work.  Instead, it utilizes a really cool phenomenon called sublimation.  I will cover this in more detail in my next post, but know that it means that dry ice can literally blow a contaminant right off of a substrate!  With sand, and even soda, you have to worry about damaging delicate components, but dry ice is able to blast electrical circuit boards, wires and all but the most fragile things without fear of damage.  This allows dry ice to be incredibly versatile.

Third, unlike with pressure washing, chemical cleaning, or other types of blasting, there is no byproduct or spent media.  If you blast lead-based paint using sand, and it takes 1,000 pounds of sand to blast off 5 pounds of paint, you now have 1,005 pounds of lead-contaminated material that you need to properly dispose of.  However, if you use 1,000 pounds of dry ice to blast off 5 lbs of lead paint, you now have 5 pounds of contaminated material to dispose of!  Now, I am not suggesting that ice and sand be used for the same things.  Sand, like any other technology, has it’s use, but dry ice is so much cleaner than any other method because of this.

Last, dry ice takes the place of cleaning with water.  This is not a ‘carbon footprint’ discussion, but it is a ‘microbial growth’ discussion.  When you use large amounts of water to clean anything, you run the risk of microbial growth if not dried properly.  Dry ice is completely dry, so not only do you not have an increased risk of microbial growth, but in fact, dry ice sanitizes, so you actually have reduced risk!  In subsequent posts, I will get into more detail with regard to exactly how it works, technically, as well as the breadth of applications and used for the technology.  

Contact Us:

Portland Blasting
4430 NE 148th Ave Ste C
Portland, OR 97230
Telephone: (503) 217-4324
E-Mail: mb@portlandblasting.com


Matt, I’ve been meaning to write and let you know how much I appreciate all of your work. … And th… Read more

Gloria K, Seaside