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What is Sandblasting?

Posted on: February 18th, 2014 by byersbushblog

The term “sandblasting” describes the practice of spraying fine particles at high velocity in order to clean a surface.  Sandblasting can also be used to etch a surface.

Sandblasting earned its name because, in the past, sand was typically used in the process.  However, we know now that inhaling the sand particles can cause a lung disease called silicosis.

Therefore, the practice of using sand for sandblasting has been replaced with using other materials, such as walnut shells, coconut shells, steel grit, copper slag, and more.

The type of material that is used in the sandblasting process depends upon the application; different media are appropriate depending upon the object being treated.

There are still risks associated with inhaling dust during the sandblasting process, so workers must wear protective clothing and use an alternate air supply while sandblasting.

The Components

Three components are used in the sandblasting process.  They are the abrasive material (such as steel grit or walnut shells), a blaster nozzle, and an air compressor.

The abrasive material, of course, provides the necessary friction to clean the surface.  The air compressor provides the velocity that is needed to clean the surface, while the blaster nozzle directs the forced air.

There are many types of blaster nozzles.  They come in a variety of materials and sizes, each of which is specified for a particular use.

Since blaster nozzles must routinely withstand such high pressures, they are constructed for maximum durability.  They can be constructed from materials including ceramic or tungsten carbide.

When sandblasting is used to etch a surface, there are a couple extra pieces that are required.  A workstation is used to hold the object that is being etched in place, and something is needed to catch excess dust.  Etching can be used to carve words or designs into glass and other materials.

In situations where sandblasting is used to clean a surface, it often serves as a primer before painting or sealing an object.

Sandblasting is an ideal method for priming a surface because it uses high velocity to rid a surface of any residue or imperfections.

It creates a very smooth, clean finish.  Then the item can be painted or sealed without any concerns of dirt or dust becoming trapped in the paint or sealant.

The item must be primed or sealed after sandblasting has been completed in order to prevent rust or corrosion.

The Advantages

Sandblasting can be used to clean many different items.  Anything from an antique toy car to an automobile to the hull of a ship or a bridge can be cleaned using sandblasting.

Sandblasting is particularly advantageous for cleaning large items.  To perfectly clean a large item, like a ship’s hull, by hand would be extremely time-consuming and labor intensive.

Employing sandblasting allows one to achieve a perfect finish without the great amount of time and labor that would be required by other methods.

Smaller items are brought to a shop and placed inside a booth in order to be sandblasted.  Very large or stationary items, like bridges, will of course remain in place to be sandblasted.

A crew will take the sandblasting equipment to the site.  They will put any necessary safety equipment in place to protect passersby, and perform the sandblasting on location.

To learn more about sandblasting services, contact Byers Bush Powder Coating Inc. We use sandblasting to prepare items for powder coating, anodizing, or painting.

Contact Byers Bush Powder Coating Inc. to find out more about our sandblasting services today.

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