Abrasive sand blasting is the general application to finishing processes that entail the high-pressure propulsion of a stream of abrasive material onto the surface of a workpiece. Abrasive blasting can serve many surface finishing purposes, such as removing contaminants or previous coatings, altering the shape and smoothing or roughening the surface.
There are many types of abrasive sand blasting applications, each of which requires the use of different types of blasting materials, referred to as blasting “media.” Finishing Systems has assembled this abrasive blasting media guide to help you select the most appropriate material for your specific finishing processes.
One note: the terms “sandblasting” and “abrasive blasting” are often used interchangeably. A conventional “dry” sandblasting process that uses traditional sand is not recommended for most applications. Blasting with sand generally requires twice the amount of material, making it cost-prohibitive for many companies.
· Glass Beads: Glass is not so aggressive a blasting media as other materials, such as steel shot or silicon carbide. But it is a good choice for applications that require a softer, brighter finish. It is well suited for stainless steel applications. Glass beads can also be recycled multiple times.
· Aluminum Oxide: Aluminum oxide is characterized by its superior hardness and strength. It can be found in applications ranging from anti-slip surfaces, industrial applications as a blasting media, and as a raw material in refractories. It is designed for abrasive pressure blasting of almost any type of substrate: glass, granite, marble, and steel. Due to its ability to deeply etch it is used in the preparation of surfaces prior to painting or coatings.
· Walnut shell sand: Walnut shells and other organic materials don’t cause anchor patterns, making them useful for cleaning dirt, grease, oil, carbon, scale, burrs and paint without changing the underlying substrate. Useful for cleaning auto body panels, electric motors and aircrat engines, dies and molds, polishing watches ad jewelry, and restoring antique surfaces.
· Silicon Carbide: Silicon carbide is the hardest abrasive blasting material available, making it the best choice for your most challenging surface finishing applications. It is available in various colors and purities. Its primary use ranges from bonded abrasive tools, lapping, polishing, glass etching and general purpose heavy duty blast cutting applications.
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