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Abrasive Blasting

Last updated: January 11, 2019

What Does Abrasive Blasting Mean?

Abrasive blasting refers to the operation of forcibly propelling a high-pressure stream of abrasive material against a surface in order to:

  • Smooth a rough surface
  • Roughen a smooth surface
  • Shape a surface
  • Remove surface contaminants

There are several variants of the process, such as:

  • Bead blasting
  • Sand blasting
  • Soda blasting
  • Shot blasting

Corrosionpedia Explains Abrasive Blasting

Abrasive blasting is a method used to clean or prepare surfaces prior to use. Mechanical force is used to propel blast media at the surface to be cleaned to remove contaminants. Types of abrasive blasting include:

  • Bead
  • Wheel
  • Wet
  • Automated
  • Hydro
  • Micro
  • Dry ice
  • Bristle

Abrasive blasting systems typically include three essential components, as follows:

  • Abrasive container (blasting pot)
  • Propelling device
  • Blasting nozzle

Abrasive blasting can be used to remove – or clean – excess or unwanted materials from a surface. The advantage of the procedure is that it keeps the surface intact, while everything else is removed.

There are two main types of blasting: dry and wet. The type of abrasive used in a particular application is usually specific to the blasting method. Dry blasting is usually done with the following:

  • Sand
  • Metallic grit
  • Shot
  • Aluminum oxide (alumina)
  • Silicon carbide

Wet blasters are operated with:

  • Sand
  • Glass beads
  • Other materials that remain suspended in water

The exact equipment used depends, to a large extent, on the specific application and type of abrasive.

Industries that use abrasive blasting include:

  • Shipbuilding
  • Automotive
  • Metal finishing
  • Foundry
  • Surface coating
  • Other industries that involve surface preparation and painting

Common applications are engravings for monuments and buildings and cleaning boat hulls, etc.


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