Grit Blasting: Understand the Process, Materials & Benefits

Jordan Treloar grit blasting

Very few methodologies compare to the versatility and practicality of grit blasting for restoring, cleaning, or preparing surfaces. It is a process that has multiple applications within industries spanning from construction, manufacturing and even marine freight.

If you are curious about the specifics of Grit Blasting, its processes, material, and benefits, then you are in the right place. Read on as we unpack this highly advantageous industrial technique. 

grit blasting

Grit Blasting: A High-Energy Surface Preparation Technique

Grit Blasting uses high-energy, abrasive material to remove pollutants, corrosion, paint, or coatings from hard surfaces. The blasting works by propelling fine or coarse abrasive particles at high velocity at any given substrate. Effectively cutting away any unwanted surface contaminants, in preparation for further surface treatment or coating application.

Different Abrasive Materials Used

A crucial component of grit blasting is the selection of abrasive materials, which is dependent upon the type of surface, the contaminant requiring removal, and the particular specifications of the project.

Below we have listed the common Grit blasting materials:

Sand

Sand has long been the preferred abrasive for use in grit blasting. Previously providing a cost-effective and easily accessible solution, with good surface preparation capabilities. However, the detrimental health concerns associated with silica dust and environmental concerns. This abrasive has been outlawed for Grit Blasting, in replacement of less harmful alternatives.

Steel Grit

Steel grit, or steel shot, are durable and reusable abrasives that remove old coatings, corrosion, and scales. They are frequently employed within in-house abrasive blasting facilities and blast yards, where reusability is possible through abrasive recycling.

Aluminium Oxide

Abrasives made of aluminium oxide are renowned for their toughness and adaptability. They are very beneficial when prepping and cleaning metal surfaces.

Glass Beads

Glass beads are soft abrasives frequently used to clean fragile surfaces. They work well on aluminium and stainless steel to remove paint, rust, and corrosion.

Garnet

The aerospace and automobile industries regularly employ garnet abrasives. Offering an environmentally friendly and consistent finish. 

Process of Grit Blasting

The grit blasting process can be brake down into several key steps:

Surface Preparation

The surface needs to be clean properly by eliminating any pollutants, loose dirt, or oil before the grit blasting process starts.

Abrasive Loading

The blast pot has been loaded with the chosen abrasive material and is prepared for blasting.

Blasting

The abrasive particles are propelled rapidly toward the surface by compressed air, forcing them through a nozzle. When the abrasive particles strike the surface, impurities, coatings, or corrosion are successfully removed.

Recovery and Recycling

To recycle the abrasive material and dispose of pollutants, abrasive particles and removed materials are collected and filtered for further use.

Surface Inspection

The cleaned or prepared surface is examined after the blasting to ensure it satisfies the required quality and specification requirements.

The Benefits of Grit Blasting

Effective Surface Preparation

The effectiveness of surface preparation methodology is the key benefit associated with Grit Blasting. Rust, previous coatings, mill scale, and surface pollutants can be efficiently removed, leaving a clean and well-prepared surface for further procedures such as painting or coating.

Versatility

Grit blasting is a flexible process that may be applied to various surfaces, including concrete, brick, metal, wood, and fibreglass. Due to its adaptability, it is a valuable tool in many industries.

Durability

By eliminating corroded coatings, impurities, and rust, grit blasting dramatically increases the lifespan of an asset. This not only improves the surface’s aesthetic appeal but also guarantees its durability.

Environment-Friendly

Our blasting services can be an environmentally responsible method of surface preparation when done professionally, and the appropriate environment-friendly abrasives are selected. Furthermore ensuring the use of a dust collector and the encapsulation of the blasting area.

Cost-effective

Grit blasting is frequently more economical than alternative surface preparation techniques, primarily when working with large surfaces or intricate structures. Some abrasive materials can be reused, which increases the cost-effectiveness and profit margins of a given project.

Enhanced Coating Adhesion

Grit blasting increases the adhesion of a protective coating product by roughening and coarsening the substrate surface. Allowing the coating to effectively bond to the surface and significantly increasing the lifespan of the asset being treated.

Application of Grit Blasting

Automotive Industry

In the automotive sector, blasting is frequently used to clean and prime car bodies for painting. Rust and previous coatings are removed, creating a clean slate to install fresh finishes.

Ship Building and Maintenance

The Grit blasting is used in the marine sector to maintain ships and offshore infrastructure. It successfully removes corrosion and rust, extending the lifespan of these assets.

Aerospace Industry

The aerospace industry uses grit blasting to ensure that aircraft structures and components satisfy strict safety and quality standards.

Construction

Our blasting services are used in the construction sector to clean and prepare concrete surfaces. Additionally, it is useful for restoring historical structures, monuments and properties. 

Manufacturing

The blasting is used in the industrial sector to clean and prepare various machinery and equipment. Ensuring that manufactured goods are of the highest calibre and integrity is crucial.

Safety Consideration

Even though grit blasting is highly effective, it must be done under stringent safety conditions. It is ensuring the management of airborne contaminants, supplying operators with the correct personal protective equipment (PPE), and ensuring enough ventilation.

Using safe and environmentally acceptable abrasives such as garnet or glass beads can reduce dangers to human health and the environment. Some safety considerations that one should consider are:

  • The proper PPE should be worn by operators and anybody standing nearby. The things include an airfed blasting helmet, safety goggles, face shields, ear protection, respirators, gloves, and protective clothes to shield against abrasive particles and dust.
  • Ensure enough ventilation to avoid a buildup of dust and abrasive particles in the blasting area. The risk of breathing in harmful contaminants is decreased, and air quality is maintained with the help of proper airflow.
  • In particular, if the blasted surfaces contain lead-based paint or other toxic compounds, identify and handle hazardous contaminants with care. Observe safety instructions when handling and discarding such materials.
  • To avoid failures that can result in accidents, inspect and maintain blasting equipment regularly. Verify the functionality of safety devices like Deadman switches.

Conclusion

Grit blasting is a strong and adaptable technology with several uses in various industries. It is environmentally responsible and possesses suitable surface preparation adaptability and cost-effectiveness. Whether you work in the construction, automotive, or aerospace industry, grit blasting may be the solution for preparing and restoring the surface of your asset.