Blasting methods of finishing are very popular in modern industrial applications. Sandblasting, in which particulate is blasted over a surface to smooth edges, produces uniform results for parts finishing and cleaning. While sand was the first media used in blasting finishers, there are many different options today to produce a variety of end results.
Sandblasting is used to clean, strip, etch, and polish surfaces quickly and effectively. One of the biggest differentiators in blasting equipment is the blasting material, or media used. Different types of blasting media produce different grit. They can also be more or less effective on different surfaces or batch sizes.
Types of Blasting Media
Aluminum Oxide – Aluminum oxide is one of the most common blasting medias. It is sharp, produces a fine grit, and can be recycled many times. Its reuse capability makes it very cost-effective for mass finishing operations.
Glass Beads – Glass beads in industrial finishing applications are typically made from soda lime-type glass. They are typically lead- and silica-free, meaning they are safe for a variety of parts and do not produce contaminants. This media produces a smooth and bright finish, as opposed to angular abrasives that can leave slightly rougher edges. However, glass beads can only be reused 20 to 30 times.
Silicon Carbide – Silicon carbide is one of the most durable and fastest cutting types of blasting media. This grainy media is ideal for etching glass and stone because of its density. Silicon carbide is also cost-effective, as it can be recycled more than most other media types.
Plastic Abrasive – Plastic is one of the most consistent and fast-acting abrasive blasting media. Plastic abrasive is commonly used for stripping paint and other coatings from surfaces, as well as in automotive and aerospace applications. It is much softer than other blasting media, therefore producing a softer finish.
Garnet – Garnet is derived from almandite or andradite deposits and can be implemented in both wet and dry sandblasting applications. When using garnet to sandblast, there is little to no embedment in the final product. Garnet is the preferred blasting media for coating adhesion.