The Use of Sand Blasting Media
Sandblasting is a process that is applied in multiple industries and applications. This process is used when a material must be cleaned, de-rusted, deburred, shot-peened, prepared for powder coating, or just have its paint stripped.
Sand blasting media is used extensively in a range of industrial applications, including in the auto industry and in ship and rail yard applications, among others. The effective use of a sandblaster requires a certain level of skill and training.
A sandblaster can totally remove the residue of paint, grease, or other veneer on a surface and bring it back to its original condition. Sandblasting can smooth out sharp burs on objects left after machining operations, making the object safe to handle.
How Sandblasting Works
Sandblasting employs pressurized air to project a stream of tiny particles, which range from very small rock particulates to glass beads to walnut shells. A blast pot holds the blast media, whether plastic, steel shot, corn cob, glass beads, or otherwise. It sends the sand blasting media down through a series of valves that effectively regulates the amount coming into the system.
The media and the air are transported through the blast hose and exit the nozzle. At this stage, they are inside of the sandblasting chamber and most of the time exit the nozzle of a handheld gun. As the particles travel at high velocity, they impact the surface of the object, eliminating what is on its surface. The particles may leave very small divots on the impacted material’s surface depending on the size, density, and texture of the media particles. These divots allow future coatings to fasten securely on the surface of the object.
Also, at the location where air escapes the chamber, a trap is present to capture the abrasive media, preventing it from flying out of the chamber.
Alternatives to Sand Blasting Media
Because sand blasting can result in lung issues in workers, alternative media has become more popular and, at time, less damaging. These include glass beads, aluminum oxide, Silicone carbide, plastics, steel shot and grit, black beauty, walnut shells, corn cobs, Staurolite, and aluminum oxide.
The optimum choice of blasting media will depend on the material surface involved, the application, and the desired result.