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Selecting The Proper Abrasive Blast Media

Choosing the right abrasive blast media is essential for achieving
the desired finish on a variety of surface materials. The wrong
choice can result in an unsatisfactory finish, wasted materials,
and potential damage to the surface. As a leading supplier in the
industry, SurfacePrep understands the importance of making the
right choice. Here’s a guide to help you make an informed
decision for your surface finishing application with commonly
used abrasives.

Understand the Basics of Abrasive Blasting

Abrasive blasting, commonly referred to as sandblasting, involves
directing a stream of abrasive particles against a surface to clean,
deburr, or prepare it for a subsequent finishing process. The type
of abrasive media used can affect the finish, rate of material
removal, and wear on blasting equipment.

Determine the Desired Finish

Different surface materials and desired finishes require different
abrasive media. Do you need a smooth, polished surface, or a
rough texture for a subsequent paint job? Identifying your desired
finish is the first step in selecting the right media.

Consider the Hardness of the Surface

Softer surfaces like aluminum and brass require a gentler
abrasive than harder surfaces like steel or cast iron. Using an
overly aggressive abrasive on a soft surface can lead to
unwanted pitting and damage.

Reusable Abrasive Media

Aluminum Oxide: can be used on a variety of materials such as
ferrous metal, steel, many metal alloys, stainless steel, glass,
ceramic, marble, granite, stone, and other hard surfaces.

Steel Shot and Grit: Best for aggressive cleaning and fast
stripping. Steel Shot provides a smooth finish and is ideal for
wheel blast applications and shot peening. Steel grit offers a
rougher finish and is frequently used in surface preparation for

Glass Beads: Glass beads, or glass bead abrasives, are most
often used in general maintenance and blast cleaning processes.
Blasting with glass beads allows the user to clean workpieces
without significant surface removal.

Garnet: Multipurpose media effective for cleaning steel and other
hard metals.

Single Use Abrasive Media

Mineral Slags: This includes coal slag, copper slag, and nickel
slag abrasive. Ideally used for outdoor blasting, single use

Crushed Glass: Made from 100% recycled glass, this abrasive
creates a sharp profile and is useful in removing a variety of
coatings. It produces a whiter, cleaner finish than mineral sands.

Think about Reusability

As you’ve now read, some abrasives can
be reused multiple times, while others are
single use. Determine how often you’ll be
blasting and consider the cost efficiency of
reusable vs. single use media.

Environmental and Health Concerns

Ensure your chosen abrasive meets
environmental regulations, especially if the
used media will be discarded outdoors or
used around other workers. Avoid using
abrasives like silica sand, which poses
health risks due to respirable crystalline

Consult with Experts

Still unsure about the best abrasive for
your application? Leverage the expertise of
SurfacePrep. We specialize in abrasive
solutions and can guide you to the best
product for your needs.

In Conclusion

Selecting the right abrasive media is not
just about achieving the desired finish but
also maximizing efficiency, ensuring the
longevity of your equipment, and
safeguarding the substrate. Always test
your chosen abrasive on a small section
before full scale application, and adjust
based on results. Remember, the perfect
finish begins with the right start, and
SurfacePrep is here to help every step of
the way

White blasting mediaSmall sample of garnet blasting mediaBlack blast media