Will using wet abrasive blasting instead of dry eliminate dust?
Firstly, before we answer this question it is important to clear up a common misconception. There is no such thing as a 100% dustless surface preparation method. (For background information on the reasons and methods for surface preparation, see Substrate Surface Preparation for Corrosion Prevention.) All abrasive blasting techniques and equipment (wet or dry) will produce dust. However, air quality tests have shown that wet abrasive blasting (also known as vapor abrasive blasting) can produce up to 92% less dust than dry blasting.
During dry blasting, high-pressure air is used to direct a stream of high-velocity abrasive material towards a surface. When these particles impact the surface, they shatter into numerous fine particles to form dust. The majority of the fine particles disperse into the air and can remain suspended for a while because they lack the mass and density to immediately descend to the ground.
During wet blasting, the abrasive particles are coated with a “water jacket” that adheres to the perimeter of the particle by surface tension. When the water encapsulated particle hits the material's surface, the surface tension holds onto the particles and hinders them from bouncing off the surface. Fine particles that are produced upon impact are also encapsulated and weighed down by the water jacket, causing them to fall to the ground and thus preventing dispersion into the atmosphere.
However, small amounts of dust can still be formed during wet blasting because:
- The mass of some tiny particles may be so light that water may not be enough to weigh them down.
- Some of the finer particles, especially those formed from the dry interior of the shattered parent particle may escape without coming into contact with the water.
More Q&As from our experts
- How can I determine what blast pressure is best for my application?
- How can I determine and measure steel's endurance limit?
- Does zinc rust?
- Wet Abrasive Blast Cleaning
- Surface Preparation
- Surface Preparation Water
- Surface Tension
- Blast Cleaning
- Abrasive Blasting
- Water Blast Cleaning
- Abrasive Media Blasting
- Surface Topography
Don't miss the latest corrosion content from Corrosionpedia!
Subscribe to our newsletter to get expert advice and top insights on corrosion science, mitigation and prevention. We create world-leading educational content about corrosion and how to preserve the integrity of the world’s infrastructure and assets.
- AC Mitigation: How to Maximize Your Potentials
- Tank Bottom Corrosion on the Soil Facing Side - Solved
- Beyond the Surface: Diving Deep Into Steel Protection
- Over-Voltage Protection
- Using Flange Isolation Kits and Monolithic Isolation Joints
- How to Properly Spec a Monolithic Isolation Joint
- Improving Pipeline Emissions: The Role of Flange Isolation Kits