Sandblasting is a surface preparation technique that involves blasting surfaces with different abrasive media or materials at high speeds. Usually, sandblasting uses pressurised air to blast the media. And while sandblasting is generally used for cleaning and surface preparation, it's effective for use in a variety of applications. For instance, some of the notable ones include stripping off corrosion and paint from surfaces, smoothing and polishing, creating art, eliminating mould and etching.

Usually, different materials can be used as abrasives depending on the application or surface type. Therefore, you must be keen to select the right media for the best results. This guide will help you in your selection.

Know Your Needs

What do you intend to use sandblasting for? Since different sandblasting media play different roles, answering this question will go a long way in helping you find the most suitable option. For instance, aluminium oxide is an ideal solution for general cleaning, paint removal and glass etching applications. It's generally sharper and harder than other choices like glass beads, making it perfect for such applications. If you are working on steel surfaces, you will likely need steel media for the best results. Silicone carbide will often come in handy for etching applications thanks to its aggressive cutting properties, while plastic is ideal for applications that require soft cutting action and minimum dust. And if you are after a smooth and bright finish, consider glass beads. Therefore, assess your needs carefully to narrow down your options to the right blasting media.

Think About Hardness

Sandblasting materials have different hardness levels, usually measured on a scale. Some of the media with high hardness levels include aluminium oxide, silicon carbide, steel media and garnet. Those with medium hardness include, among others, glass beads and crushed glass, while softer options include plastic abrasives, walnut shells, corn cobs, etc. Generally, softer abrasives are perfect if you want to achieve fine finishes. On the other hand, their harder counterparts are ideal for more aggressive applications like the removal of corrosion and rust.

Consider The Density

It's also critical to think about the media's density in your selection. Denser sandblasting materials have more impact over smaller surface areas, absorb less energy when blasted over a surface and tend to deform less. Denser media will also create deeper surface profiles than their less dense counterparts, so assess your needs to select the right materials. Examples of media with high density include steel media and aluminium oxide. On the other hand, less dense alternatives include walnut shells, corn cobs and glass beads, among others.

Contact a professional for more information about sandblasting