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CO2 (dry ice) cleaning systemTomco Equipment Company has participated in the dry ice (solid carbon dioxide, CO2) cleaning industry for over ten years as a pioneer in the manufacturer of high density, dry ice cleaning pellet production equipment. For over four years Tomco high density pelletizers have been available to the dry ice cleaning industry. Approximately one year ago Tomco introduced the DI-250, a new dry ice blast unit making Tomco a single source supplier for sublimable media, particle blast, cleaning systems. This new blast unit is an all pneumatic, single discharge hose device. It meters the insertion of 1/8 inch diameter (or smaller), high density, dry ice pellets into a high pressure, propellant gas stream. The dry ice and propellant streams are controlled and mixed from the blast cabinet. From there the mixture is transported to the nozzle where the pellets are accelerated to an appropriate blasting velocity. When directed to impact upon a target area, these dry ice pellets have sufficient energy to effectively remove most surface coatings through dry, abrasive contact. The meta-stable, dry ice pellets used for CO2 cleaning, while labeled 'high density,' are less dense than alternate, abrasive, particle blast media. In addition, after contacting the target surface, they return to their equilibrium condition: a superheated gas state. Most currently used grit blasting media are silicon dioxide based, which possess a sharp tetrahedral molecular structure. Silicon dioxide crystal structures will always produce smaller sharp-edged replicas of the original crystal upon fracture. Larger, softer dry ice pellets do not share the same sharp-edged crystalline structures as their non-sublimable counterparts when broken. In fact, upon contact with the target surface, dry ice pellets will plastically deform and break apart. As such, dry ice cleaning is less harmful to sensitive substrates, workers and the environment than chemical or abrasive cleaning systems. Dry ice cleaning system components include: a dry ice pellet supply, a non-reactive propellant gas source, a pellet and propellant metering device, and a media transport and acceleration hose and nozzle arrangement. Dry ice cleaning system operating parameters include: choice of propellant gas, its pressure and temperature, dry ice mass flow rate, dry ice pellet size and shape, and acceleration nozzle configuration. These parameters may be modified to fit different applications. The growth of the dry ice cleaning industry will depend upon timely data acquisition of the effects that independent changes in these parameters have on cleaning rates, with respect to different surface coating and substrate combinations. With this data, optimization of cleaning rates for particular applications will be possible. The analysis of the applicable range of modulation of these parameters, within system component mechanical constraints, has just begun.
Document ID
Document Type
Conference Paper
Barnett, Donald M.
(Tomco Equipment Co. Loganville, GA, United States)
Date Acquired
September 6, 2013
Publication Date
March 1, 1995
Publication Information
Publication: NASA. Marshall Space Flight Center, Aerospace Environmental Technology Conference 391-398 (SEE N95-31746 11-23)
Subject Category
Mechanical Engineering
Accession Number
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.
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