Selecting the right grade of abrasive

The right grade of abrasive can determine the effectiveness of your blasting job

Customers tell us - "We're using too much paint just to cover up the profile we're creating when we blast." Other times they tell us, it is taking too long to clean out the rust pits on a floating roof tank.

Here are some tips that can help

  1. The grade of abrasive to use, is the finest abrasive particle size to achieve the surface profile that you require. The finer the abrasive, the more hits you get on your surface. This is because there are more grains of abrasive in a finer abrasive mix than with a coarser abrasive.

  2. The more impacts on the surface from the abrasive particles, the more consistent the blast profile and the faster the blasting speed.

  3. The more hits you get, the more rapidly the surface is cleaned, allowing the operator to move his blast nozzle faster.

  4. You use less fine abrasive - Finer abrasive allows more precise abrasive metering - You can cut back your abrasive metering valve when using fine abrasive (that's your  Grit Valve or your Abrasive Valve) and use less abrasive to overall reduce abrasive consumption and the consequent time required to recycle or dispose of spend abrasive.

With the combination of an increased blasting speed and lower abrasive consumption, you're going to multiply your profits. On top of that, it is less work - as you don't have to refill your blast pot so often.

The finest abrasive size will give a uniform and consistent profile. This means you don't have to use excessive quantities of paint, to fill up the blast profile. Finer abrasive is more effective to scour rust & corrosion cells out deep pits. In contrast, coarse abrasive grains are not effective as the size makes it difficult to access all the pockets of the rust pit.

A fine abrasive grain will get into pits and scour them out much faster. So, an abrasive that's as fine as possible to get the right profile, is the one you want to stick for the job.

Rule of Thumb

When it comes to removing a coating there's a rule of thumb that says use the same abrasive grain size as the coating is thick. If you're removing a coating, let's say, 500 microns (20 mils) thick. Use an abrasive grain that's about 0.5 millimetre (20 thou). Or take that to a thicker coating. A coating that's 1,000 microns (40 mils) thick, use an abrasive that's 1.0 millimetre (40 thou).

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