The Science of Dry Ice Blasting

Call it CO2 blasting or dry ice blasting,  cleaning with frozen carbon dioxide pellets is one powerful way to clean a surface when you want to make sure it is absolutely clean, without harming it or polluting the surface with chemical residue. This specialized cleaning process uses tiny pellets of dry ice, blasted at supersonic speeds. It’s similar to pressure washing and sand blasting a surface all in one, except that the CO2 does not scratch the surface the way that sand does, and does not wet the surface as water does.  It works somewhat like sandblasting except that the pellets are relatively soft as compared to sand.


Upon impact with surfaces to be cleaned, the CO2 pellets change instantly into invisible CO2 gas. The extreme cold of the CO2 causes water vapor in the air to condense and forms a visible mist around the surface being cleaned.

At – 109 degrees F, the frozen CO2 pellets are extremely cold. Upon impact with the surface coating or contaminant, the CO2 pellet absorbs heat from the very thin top layer of the surface coating or contaminant.  This very rapid transfer of heat into the pellet from the coating layer, creates an extremely large temperature difference and a thermal stress between successive micro-layers within the coating.  The micro-layers of coating crack and shatter under this stress. At the same instant, the pellet changes from a solid to a gas (known as sublimation), expanding nearly 800 times the volume of the pellet. This “micro-explosion” lifts the shattered particles away from the cleaned surface. The CO2, now in its gas form, returns to the atmosphere leaving nothing behind to be removed from the site but the now shattered coating or contaminant.

No sand, no water, and no solvents makes it a great cleaning method for equipment and machinery.

Blackwell’s, Inc.

Specialized Industrial Cleaning, Concrete Coatings and Concrete Repair


Dry Ice Blasting

LaGrange, GA