Sand, grit and glassbead blasting are well known techniques in the restoration industry for removing grease and grime build-up, underbody sealant and paint from parts and panels. A side effect of these methods is damage to the surface structure, resulting in buckles and bulges.
One solution is a new technology called dry ice blasting. During the blasting dry ice pellets hit the affected surface at high speeds. On contact, the solid pellets return to gaseous carbon dioxide in a minor explosion. Due to the sudden increase in volume, the paint or grime layer is lifted and becomes suddenly cooled, becomes brittle and is easily removed. Afterwards, the part retains its original structure.
Thermo Blast, a Queensland-based company, provides the dry ice blasting alternative. Thermo Blast provides its dry ice blasting services for individual restorers and will also deliver the BUSE blasting equipment to the automobile industry.
The German engineered and manufactures system combines the dry ice pellets, widely available from the major gas suppliers, with air inside the blasting unit. By adjusting air pressure and concentration of the pellets, underbody sealant without damaging the underlying paint layer can be removed. As the age and composition of sealants vary, the blasting unit can be accurately adjusted.
Compared to manual removal, dry ice blasting can considerably reduce the time required. A further benefit is that no parts need to be removed. The non-abrasive nature of dry ice blasting does not damage parts such as axles, steering elements, springs, shock absorbers or brake lines.
Even rubber, other sealing material and glass remain undamaged. This makes dry ice blasting suitable for sensitive body parts like door panels and bonnets without the danger of pitting or warping. Chrome, aluminium and fibreglass are all safe with dry ice blasting. Dry ice blasting is also an effective method on engine parts, from pistons to cylinder heads. Unlike grit or glassbead blasting, there is no residue in dry ice blasting that could later result in an oil duct blockage.