Various Types of Abrasive Blasting

Various Types of Abrasive Blasting


Various Types of Abrasive Blasting


Abrasive blasting is the process of propelling very fine particles of an abrasive material at high velocity toward a surface in order to clean or etch it. It is the method by which any surface can be modified to either be made smooth, rough, cleaned, or finished. Abrasive blasting is widely used in surface preparation for its cost-effectiveness and high efficiency.

There are many different types of abrasive blasting existing in the market to meet the kinds of surface treatment requirements nowadays. In this article, we will learn some main types of abrasive blasting

1. Sand Blasting

 Sand Blasting involves the use of a powered machine, typically an air compressor as well as a sandblasting machine to spray abrasive particles under high pressure against a surface. It’s called “sandblasting” because it blasts the surface with particles of sand. The sand abrasive material along with the air is generally ejected out of a blasting nozzle. When the sand particles strike the surface, they create a smoother and more even texture.

Because sandblasting is executed in a more open-space format, there are environmental regulations that determine where it can be carried out. 

Sand used in sandblasting is made of silica. The silica used is hazardous to health and can lead to Silicosis. As a result, this method is no longer preferred when it comes to abrasive blasting as the abrasive can be inhaled or leaked into the environment.

Suitable for: Diverse surfaces that require versatility.

2. Wet Blasting

 Wet abrasive blasting removes coatings, contaminants, corrosion and residues from hard surfaces. It’s similar to dry sandblasting, except that the blast media is moistened prior to impacting the surface. Wet blasting was designed to solve the big problem with air blasting, which is controlling the amount of airborne dust that results from doing air blasting.

Suitable for: Surfaces with blasting byproducts that need to be limited, such as airborne dust. 

3. Vacuum Blasting

Vacuum blasting is also known as dust-free or dustless blasting. It involves a blasting machine that comes equipped with a vacuum suction that removes any propelled abrasives and surface contaminants. In turn, these materials are immediately sucked back into the control unit. The abrasives are usually recycled in vacuum blasting.

The vacuum blasting technique can be used on delicate blasting jobs were blasting on low pressures. However, the recycling function does make the vacuum blasting method slower than other methods. 

Suitable for: Any abrasive blasting that requires minimal debris creepage out into the environment. 

4. Steel Grit blasting

Steel Grit blasting uses spherical steels as abrasives. This method is commonly used when cleaning metal surfaces. It’s very effective in removing paint or rust on other steel surfaces. The use of steel grit also has added advantages such as providing a smoother surface finish and helping in peening which strengthens the metal. 

Other materials can also be used instead of steel in this procedure such as Aluminum, Silicon Carbide, and Walnut Shells. It all depends on what surface material is being cleaned. 

Suitable for: Any surface that requires a smooth finish and fast cutting removal.

5. Centrifugal Blasting

Centrifugal blasting is also known as wheel blasting. It is an airless blasting operation where the abrasive is propelled at the workpiece by a turbine. The purpose may be the remove contaminants (like mill scale, sand on foundry pieces, old coatings, etc.), strengthen the material, or create an anchor profile.

Abrasives used in centrifugal blasting can also be recycled and debris is collected by a collector unit. These make centrifugal blasting an attractive choice. But the biggest disadvantage of centrifugal blasting is that it is a larger machine that is not easy to move. It also can’t be operated on uneven services.

Suitable for: Any long-term abrasive blasting operations that need efficiency and high throughput.

6. Dry-Ice blasting

Dry Ice Blasting Work is a form of non-abrasive blasting, it uses high-pressure air pressure along with carbon dioxide pellets that are projected at the surface to clean it. Dry ice blasting leaves no residue as dry ice sublimates at room temperature. It’s a unique form of abrasive blasting as the carbon dioxide is non-toxic and doesn’t react with the contaminant on the part surface, which makes it ideal for substances such as cleaning food processing equipment. 

Suitable for: Any surface that’s delicate and cannot be contaminated with the abrasive. 

7. Bead blasting

Bead blasting is the process of removing surface deposits by applying fine glass beads at high pressure. The glass beads are spherical in shape and when impact the surface create a micro-dimple, leaving no damage on the surface. These glass beads are effective at cleaning, deburring, and peening metal surface. It is used to clean calcium deposits from pool tiles or any other surfaces, remove embedded fungus, and brighten grout color. It is also used in auto body work to remove paint.

Suitable for: Providing surfaces with a bright smooth finish. 

8. Soda blasting

Soda blasting is a newer form of blasting that uses sodium bicarbonate as the abrasive which is blasted onto the surface using air pressure. 

The use of sodium bicarbonate has been shown to be very effective at removing certain contaminants from the surface of materials. The abrasive shatters on impact with the surface and exerts a force that clears up contaminants on the surface. It’s a gentler form of abrasive blasting and requires much less pressure exertion. This makes them suitable for softer surfaces such as chrome, plastic, or glass. 

A disadvantage of soda blasting is that the abrasive is non-recycled.

Suitable for: Cleaning softer surfaces that may be damaged by tougher abrasives.

Apart from the above-mentioned types, there are many other different types of abrasive blasting technology. Each helps with specific use-cases to get rid of dirt and rust.

If you want to learn more about abrasive blasting, welcome to contact us for more information. 

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