Abrasive blasting is the art of using compressed air to force some sort of abrasive material to impact a surface under high pressure. It can be used to prepare surfaces ready for a spray coating or fibreglass lining. Abrasive blasting was first patented by the American soldier and inventor Benjamin Chew Tilghman in 1870, who was inspired, so we are told, by seeing the effect of wind-blown sand on windows in the desert while in the army.
What Is It Used For?
Benjamin Tilghman marketed his ‘liquid grindstone’ as suitable for “sharpening files, engraving bottles, cleaning boilers or bringing out the grain in wood”.
These days abrasive blasting can be used to smooth a rough surface, roughen a smooth surface, shape or simply clean a surface. It can remove failed coatings, rust and other contaminants. It can also prepare a surface with a key which means any new coating will be easier to apply and will ‘hold’ better.
We agree with Benjamin that abrasive blasting can be extremely versatile and we use it in various industries for lots of reasons – whether it’s preparing chemical tanks or cleaning wooden house beams: We can clean or prepare any surface – it all comes down to the correct media for the job.
OK, So What Types of Blasting Are There?
The way abrasive blasting works is to impact the surface using air pressured media but the type used is dependent on the material and size of the surface. Some types of blasting are highly abrasive, and others are much milder. The most abrasive are shot blasting (with metal shot) and sandblasting. Moderately abrasive variants include glass bead blasting and plastic media blasting (PMB) with ground-up plastic stock or walnut shells. Milder versions include soda blasting (with baking soda), ice blasting and dry-ice blasting.
How Do I Know What Type I Need for my Project?
Just talk to us! Abrasive blasting can be used to clean metal, brick, stone, and concrete, prepare industrial surfaces, such as tanks, as well as domestic and commercial structures. Whatever your project we can find the method and media to help, so just drop us a line.
Here’s a video of one of our recent blasting jobs – The blasting was used for surface preparation for a chemical resistant fibreglass lining.