What Is Dry Ice Cleaning? Introduction: Dry ice is basically the solid form of carbon dioxide. Hence, the dry ice cleaning is a form of abrasive blasting where the solidified carbon dioxide is used to clean a surface or substance. This solid form of carbon dioxide is accelerated towards the surface that is to be cleaned. The solid carbon dioxide is pressurized to form an air stream which basically helps in the cleaning. After the cleaning through this process, no traces of chemical residues are left because the sublimation of dry ice occurs at room temperature and therefore this method of cleaning is favoured all over. The first patent regarding the use of this technology was issued in the 1947. This technology of cleaning has undergone various changes and development after that for better use. Equipment Used: The ice that is used for the dry ice cleaning can be of shaved ice block form or in the form of solid pellet. However, it must be kept in mind that the shaved ice blocks are more delicate since the ice medium of the shaved block is less dense. One of the main equipment used in this process is a delivery system. The delivery system is used to combine the ice with the compressed air. Then this combination is accelerated out of the delivery nozzle. Single hose or two hose technology is used to carry out this cleaning process. The two hose system is cheaper than the single hose system since the delivery system used is simpler. Method of Cleaning: One must understand the method of cleaning that is used to get the perfect answer to the question what is dry ice cleaning? In this process, the dry ice pellets that are accelerated towards the surface that must be cleaned are propelled at extremely high speed. This high impact of speed on the ice pellets make them sublimate almost immediately upon reaching the surface to be cleaned. Thus the transfer of minimum amount of kinetic energy helps to produce minimum amount of abrasion. The process of sublimation of the ice pellets absorbs heat from the surface to be cleaned. This thermal shock in turn produces shear stress. This production of shear stress through heat absorption helps the cleaning process as the topmost layer of the dirt surface transfers more heat and flakes off more easily than the layers that lie underneath. Uses of the Process: This process of cleaning is also known as dry ice blasting. It has various uses; few of them are discussed as follows:
1. Various types of cleaning that are solvent based can be replaced by dry ice blasting. This replacement has been suggested by the Environmental Protection Agency of the EPA. 2. Various equipments that are mainly used for the purpose of food processing can be cleaned through dry ice blasting. The decontamination of these food processing equipment from various micro organisms like E. Coli, Listeria monocytogenes, Salmonella enteriditis and such others can be done through this process since these micro organisms cannot be detected using the conventional microbiological methods. 3. This process cleans various other equipments without producing any sort of electrical or fire hazard. Objects with all forms of geometrical shapes and sizes can be cleaned at once using this method.