There’re many ways to describe an abrasive blast, through all the definitions the core fundamental remains the same. The traditional definition is to shoot small particles onto a surface to clean or treat them, the small particle matter can be adjusted or changed depending on the surface that needs treatment. Throughout the years the materials have been researched and developed to become more effective on certain surfaces and the method remains one of the most popular forms of surface treatment by industry professionals.
There are different types of abrasive blast for different surfaces as previously mentioned, so today we will explore some of the more popular materials used in a good and effective abrasive blasts for various surfaces.
This material was once king of the abrasive blast for many years and has since been debunked for its potential health hazards. The use of small silica and quartz-based materials were once ideal for their ability to be very versatile across a barrage of surfaces. The particles were shot using a high-pressure air release which was advantageous for stuck-on marks and for a smoother finish. Silica is the hazardous component which is why it has befallen a less popular view in the general consensus in recent years, but if we are talking about the core pillars of an abrasive blast, the sand had to be mentioned.
Using water combined with a high-pressuring agent and small particles seemed to be the perfect solution for many avid fans of an abrasive blast due to the containment of airborne particles more commonly associated with the previous entry. In most cases, this method of an abrasive blast was used in a smaller and more controlled environment where inhalants were a particular issue with workers and the general public.
One of the more innovative forms of an abrasive blast is the utilisation of sodium bicarbonate to effectively remove a fair number of contaminants from a surface, in a more effective manner than alternatives. Being a gentler form of cleaning, this material is particularly suited to surfaces where a typical abrasive blast would damage it. This includes surfaces like glass or chrome which are known to mark easily with harsher methods.
One of the criticisms of this particular material is the fact that it is not recyclable after use as many others are. This puts the question of its environmental impact on the cards and has been the subject of much debate by industry experts as to the longevity of its use in the industry.
4. Steel Grit
A more common material for particular issues like rust and paint. This is one of the more common types you’ll hear about in the industry and for good reason. On the right surface it will leave a sheen that is often hard to come by in traditional means. It also has the tactical utilisation of naturally peening the metal surface it’s used on, which in turn strengthens the metallic surface. The more common use is of course the removal of rust particles which are hazardous to materials if left unchecked.
5. Dry Ice
Now we look to the future, with one of the more innovative materials. It’s quite a marvel to consider, small hyper cold pellets are shot at a surface which creates a thermal shock, dislodging materials and allowing an effective clean. The added bonus is that there is no waste to clean up as the dry ice will evaporate in typical temperatures. In many ways it’s the future of the abrasive blast.