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Shotblasting Techniques Explained
Abrasive blasting is the operation of cleaning or preparing a surface by forcibly propelling a stream of abrasive material against it. Usually explained as the use of a material against another material to make it smoother, remove surface contaminants or to roughen a surface. It is also the appropriate term for what is known as glass bead blasting, sandblasting, sand carving or shot blasting.
Historically, the material used for artificial sandblasting was sand that had been sieved to a uniform size. In the early 1900s, it was initially assumed that sharp-edged grains provided the best performance though this was later demonstrated to not be correct.
Other materials for sandblasting have been developed to be used instead of sand; for example, carborundum grit, steel shots, copper slag, powdered slag, glass beads, metal pellets, dry ice, garnet, powdered abrasives of various grades, and even ground coconut shells, corncobs, walnut shells, and baking soda (sodablasting) have been used for specific applications and can produce distinct surface finishes. Some commercial grade blasters are specially designed to handle multiple blast abrasives. These blasters are commonly referred as multi-media blasters.
Sandblasting can also be used to produce three dimensional signage. This type of signage is considered to be a higher end product as compared to the flat signs. These signs often incorporate gold leaf overlay and sometimes crushed glass backgrounds which is called smalts.
Sandblasting can be used to refurbish buildings or create works of art (carved or frosted glass). Modern masks and resists facilitate this process, producing accurate results.
Sandblasting technique is used for cleaning boat hulls, bricks, and concrete work. Sandblasting which is also known as blast cleaning is used for cleaning industrial as well as commercial structures. However, sandblasting is rarely used for nonmetallic workpieces.