What is Wet-Ice Blast?
Ice blasting is a method of industrial cleaning that uses a continuous supply of compressed air to convey and accelerate suspended ice particles to high speeds. The ice particles are ejected from a nozzle toward the surface to be cleaned. The ice particles impact the contaminant covering the surface, breaking it apart and knocking it off.
Why choose Ice?
- Using Ice will significantly reduce your operating costs.
- Ice will not sublimate like dry ice. Under proper storage, it will virtually last forever.
- Ice reduces airborne contaminate levels compared to other blasting technologies
- Ice is a non-hazardous material unlike dry ice and all other blasting medias.
Ice blasting uses significantly less water than pressure washing (around 10% of the water). As a result, one of its main advantages is easier containment compared to other industrial cleaning technologies. A wet spray forms around the surface during blasting, helping to capture airborne particulates and drag them downwards. Blasted off contaminants collect in a slushy pile beneath the blast zone. This means that, compared to other cleaning technologies, a more minimal containment setup can be used. In addition, much less waste is produced, since the minimal leftover slush melts and evaporates, leaving behind only the blasted off contaminant for disposal.
Since ice blasting results in less airborne contaminants than other blasting medias and requires simpler containment setups, it is often used for removing hazardous substances, such as lead paint or asbestos, or for blasting in enclosed/indoor environments. It is also often used in areas where water is scarce, since it requires much less water than pressure washing.
Ice blasting cleans in three main stages:
- Bulk Removal: The stage where major contamination is first removed. Speeding particles of ice impact the surface, breaking apart the layer of contaminant and knocking it off. Since ice is a solid, it can deliver a much higher impulse force on impact than liquid water.
- Detail Cleaning: The stage where ice slides along the surfaces of the part. This provides a mechanical agitation that scrubs and polishes the surface, removing minute quantities of the remaining contamination from the surface. By definition, scrubbing means two solids moving relative to each other under applied pressure. Water as a blast-cleaning agent therefore cannot offer this property.
- Final Rinse: The removed contamination is rinsed away. Some of the ice melts on impact to form water, which washes over the surface. Water is considered the universal solvent and so dissolves and washes away remaining contaminants.
These cleaning mechanisms often metal surfaces much shinier than other cleaning methods.