What is Dry Ice Blasting/Cleaning

Dry ice blast cleaning is similar to conventional media blasting except that the abrasive media is replaced by pellets of dry ice which literally disappear as soon as the cleaning cycle is complete.

The dry ice, although hard in appearance, does not rely on its abrasive properties for effective cleaning. This minimises the risk of damage to the substrate, or the areas adjacent to the workpiece, making Vortex Dry Ice Blasting the perfect solution for cleaning delicate substrates such as printed circuit boards or highly polished moulds. In the case of the latter, the blasting can often take place with the mould still hot and in-situ, and in fact we recommend this.

Vortex has infinite control over the ratios of dry ice, air and if applicable abrasive media used such as 75micron glass beads. This allows cleaning conditions to be altered to ensure removal of only the contaminants from surface coated components, allowing the bond between substrate and coating to remain intact. Alternatively, the cleaning parameters can be set to be more aggressive and both contaminant and coatings can be removed from the substrate in one operation. If profiling is required we can introduce between 500g and 5kg of glass beads per hour to the stream of dry ice pellets.

When the pellets impact a substrate with a tightly bonded layer of surface contamination, or unwanted coating, small solid dry ice particles enter the pores of the contaminant and any thermal cracks created within it by the cold dry ice.

As the dry ice particles impact and penetrate the surface contaminant, vast amounts of energy is released causing the particles to sublime into a much larger volume of CO2 gas, (approximately 700 times greater than the original pellet). The gas then rapidly expands and simply blasts the contaminant away from the substrate into the airstream.

Because the dry ice sublimes during the cleaning process, there are no problems associated with disposal of the blasting medium and no debris to clear away other than the material removed, which is usually found as a fine dust. Compared to solvent cleaning, there are no toxic fumes, no hazardous liquid wastes to dispose of and, as CO2 is inert, no chemical reactions take place.


  • Reduction in cleaning time

  • A non-abrasive, non-flammable, and non-conductive cleaning method.

  • Extremely environmentally-friendly and contains no secondary contaminants such as solvents or grit media.

  • Very versatile and adaptable to many industries

  • It’s clean and approved for use in the food and Aircraft industries.

  • Most items to be cleaned in-place without time consuming disassembly.

  • Can be used without damaging active electrical or mechanical parts or creating fire hazards.

  • Can be used to remove production residues, release agents, contaminants, paints, oils and biofilms.

  • Can be as gentle as dusting smoke damage from books or as aggressive as removing weld slag from tooling.

  • Can be used for many general cleaning applications.

  • It’s an environmentally friendly industrial cleaning solution.

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