Ice Blasting is similar to sand blasting in cleaning many types of materials, except it is non abrasive. In other words it does not damage or abrade the item being cleaned. Sand or abrasive blasting creates pits and holes in the item being cleaned which can cause problems in many ways. Abrasive blasting also leaves a lot of residue to clean up. Ice blasting simply removes the debris and leaves the surface perfectly clean as well as leaving no residue. This makes Ice Blasting a perfect “Green Technology” that protects the earth we live on.

There are two types of Ice used for Ice Blasting. One is Ice made with ordinary tap water and the other is Dry Ice made from Liquid Carbon Dioxide. Both clean without abrading and both have advantages and disadvantages. At Cryogenic Blasting we use both media, depending on the type of cleaning we are doing.

If the surface can get slightly wet without damage we use H2O ice, if the surface needs to be totally dry, we use dry ice. Dry Ice is used at around -109F and sublimates directly back into carbon dioxide gas when it hits the surface being cleaned. Dry Ice machines must be used where there is good air circulation due to the gas being released.

Water Ice Blasting

At the heart of the water ice technology is the "Displace, Scrub and Flush" system of cleaning that takes place when the ice crystals impact onto a substrate. Ice crystals deform to scrub on impact, and after impact melt into water to wash away debris. Thus, each ice particle is a self-destructing scrubbing brush that flushes away contaminants, uses significantly less water than water blasting.


Water ice
is used at around 25F and is easier on the environment as the ice melts and evaporates without any impact on the environment. The Ice Blaster uses about 20 gallons of water per hour of ice that is makes as it needs it. 10 gallons of the water evaporates instantly upon impact, leaving a residual of 10 gallons per hour. It can produce 220 pounds of ice per hour. Water Ice Blasting creates no dust and utilizes no abrasives, chemicals or detergents in the process. Water ice blasting is also safer to use in closed atmospheres as dry ice creates carbon dioxide gas. It is the best choice in about 95% of cleaning situations. It is more environmentally friendly and less expense to use.

Screen shot 2010-09-23 at 12.05.23 PM
Our Ice maker producing 200 pounds per hour (click)

Dry Ice Blasting

Dry Ice Blasting works in a very similar way except it is totally dry. The dry ice goes directly from a solid to a gas. It cleans in a slightly different way in that the extreme temperate of dry ice at around -109F shrinks the debris the be cleaned, causing it to lose adhesion the the surface it is on. The dry ice then expand about 500 times it size and helps to blow the debris off. It is great for cleaning live electrical items or items that require complete dryness. Caution must be used in closed atmospheres due to the buildup of Carbon Dioxide gas. It is more expensive as the dry ice must be purchased and is not “made on the fly“ as our regular ice system does. It will add about $50/hr in expenses.

Please take a look at this special segment done on “Modern Marvels” that gives a good explanation of Ice Blasting technology.

Click on picture to view episode