Painting Prep: Dry Ice Blasting Explained for Students in Car Painting Courses

auto refinishing prep technician

Sometimes cars may need to have the previous coat of paint completely removed before an auto painting professional can begin working on a fresh new one. There are several ways for removing old paint, including sanding it, using a chemical stripper, or sand blasting it. While relatively unknown and uncommon, there’s also another option sometimes used for stripping paint called dry ice blasting.

Dry ice blasting uses tiny dry ice pellets to effectively strip away old paint, without leaving any messy cleanup. It’s chemical free, nonabrasive, and doesn’t cause parts to warp.

Students who are curious about how old paint can be removed using this method can read on to learn more about dry ice blasting.

Pros with Automotive Careers May Know How Dry Ice Blasting Works

Grads of car painting courses might find it interesting to know that dry ice blasting works because of several simple scientific processes, including the thermal shock effect. As the dry ice pellets come into contact with the car’s surface, the very first layer of paint will have its temperature drop significantly, creating a sizeable temperature difference between the initial layer of paint and the layers beneath it. This creates small stress fractures that break up the top layer of paint, allowing the paint to be blown away by the force of the delivery system.

Secondly, the thermal-kinetic effect is also at play. As the dry ice pellets collide with the car’s surface, they explode and turn into a gas. The rapid expansion that occurs when matter turns from a solid to a gas creates a tiny explosion. These micro-explosions are responsible for helping to loosen and blast the paint away.

Dry Ice Blasting Can Be Used to Strip Away a Previous Paint Job

You may find during your automotive career that companies that offer dry ice blasting are typically speciality auto shops or high end car painting shops. Often, companies that rent or supply dry ice blasting machinery train car painting professionals on how to use them. Dry ice blasting services are usually priced fairly high, but for good reason. The equipment needed for dry ice blasting is an expensive investment for an auto shop, and isn’t very common. More often than not, sand blasting, sanding, or chemically stripping paint away offers the most affordable option for car owners.

Because of the high price tag, it’s auto enthusiasts who collect classic or luxury cars who tend to opt for dry ice blasting services. When performed correctly, dry ice blasting results in a smooth finish with almost no residue left over, creating the perfect blank canvas for a new professional paint job.

Other Uses for Dry Ice Blasting

It’s worth noting that dry ice blasting isn’t only used for stripping old paint off a car and preparing it for a brand new paint job. Dry ice blasting is also commonly used to clean engines, undercarriages, and even the interior of vehicles. The process works the exact same way as described previously, but instead of removing a layer of paint, the blasting removes layers of dirt and grime, leaving the car looking as good as new. In addition, because dry ice blasting is not abrasive, doesn’t leave behind any water, and uses no chemicals, it’s sometimes used for cleaning sensitive areas of a vehicle, like areas where there’s electrical wiring.

Do you want to become an auto refinishing prep technician and perform top-notch paint jobs?

Contact Automotive Training Centres today to learn more about our programs!

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