The Different Methods of Sandblasting
Abrasive blasting, or sandblasting, is a process where an object’s surface is eroded and smoothed with very fine particles. A pressurised sandblasting gun, or other surface finishing equipment, is used to polish or smoothen out a rough surface. Sandblasting with a gun eliminates the hassle, mess and labour of working with sandpaper. It can be conducted using several different materials:
Silica or Silicon Dioxide Sandblasting
Silicon dioxide − ordinary sand − is composed of either silica or quartz. Sand is a common method of removing impurities from surfaces; particles of a similar size efficiently remove grit. This method, however, is no longer popular because of more efficient methods. Researchers have also discovered that silica causes types of respiratory diseases.
Soda sandblasting is the use of bicarbonate of soda, or baking soda. Soda is a non-abrasive material that is gentler than sand, and removes rust from metal without leaving a depression or damaging metal underneath the surface. It is ideal for delicate surfaces that tougher abrasives may destroy, such as plastic and glass. Bicarbonate of soda also removes smoke damage and mould as it is a natural deodoriser.
Steel Grit Sandblasting
Steel grit consists of small spherical grains or pellets of steel. It is used to remove rust and paint from steel for a smooth surface. Steel grit pellets do not shatter on impact. This method is commonly used by paint or blast contractors, shipbuilders, pipeline manufacturers, steel fabricators and container manufacturers.
Glass Bead Sandblasting
Glass bead sandblasting is the use of tiny glass beads under low air pressure. This abrasive is made up of fine glass beads to polish surfaces. Glass bead blasting is slower than using sand; however, it is excellent for surfaces with a satin or matte finish.
Bristle blasting is the type of abrasive which uses steel wire bristles that are rotated on a surface. This abrasive is often used to remove corrosion and clean metal surfaces.
Although called sandblasting, various types of materials and abrasive blasting methods are used to smooth or polish different surfaces. To achieve the best results, research the most suitable method for the job or seek professional advice.