Surface finishing can consist of one of several processes. One common method is abrasive blasting. Also known as grit blasting process, it involves blasting the substrate surface of a workpiece with high propulsion of abrasive materials. The intent is to remove contaminants, take off previous coatings, smooth the surface, or change the form of the workpiece.
When it comes to abrasive blasting, it is possible to choose from several media (materials) to achieve the desired result on the specific materials. Choosing the appropriate media is important if the workpiece is to reach the preferred outcome. Among the materials commonly available for abrasive or grit blasting are the following:
- Aluminum Oxide: This material is characterized by superior strength and hardness. It is versatile, being able to blast a variety of substrates, including glass, marble, granite, and steel. Its most common application is for surface preparation.
- Corn Cobs: A natural and softer approach to abrasive blasting, corn cob is more appropriate for use in the jewelry and cutlery industry. However, it is also suitable for cleaning, deburring, and de-flashing of engine parts and fiberglass. One other purpose is for the removal of graffiti from stone, brick, or even wood.
- Glass Beads: Not as aggressive as other blasting materials, it is best suited for producing a soft, bright finish for applications of stainless steel.
- Plastics: Plastic provides the perfect media for cleaning and blasting plastic components, including molds.
- Silicon Carbide: For the most challenging jobs, this is the material. It is the hardest and most durable.
Steel: If cost is an issue, this is the media chosen. It is recyclable, versatile, and robust.
When it comes to cleaning, deburring, and/or otherwise finishing a substrate surface, companies have the choice of several processes. One of the more common ones is abrasive or grit blasting. By using the right media, the results achieved are those hoped for.
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