Not all Blast Abrasives are created equal. Selecting the optimum Abrasive Media for Abrasive Blasting Surface Preparation is the most important decision to be made to achieve the lowest overall cost per square foot.
Choosing the best (lowest cost per square foot) abrasive for a project involves answering the following questions:
Let’s review the more popular available Abrasives.
Just like Abrasives in general, not all Iron Silicates (Copper Slags) are created equal. TCR Blast Abrasives markets only the High-Performance varieties of Iron Silicate – that is, Low Dust, Low Consumption Rate and high Production Rates. Depending on the specific project and location, Iron Silicate is almost always the top 1 or 2 Abrasives candidates in terms of overall cost per square foot based on the following:
Aluminum Oxide is processed from the Bauxite ore. As a result of having to “produce” the Aluminum Oxide Abrasive, impurities (e.g., free silica, trace heavy metals, etc.) are at very low concentrations – if even detected. The great advantage of AlOx is the MOH Hardness of 8 to 8.5 – among the very hardest of Abrasives widely available. AlOx is available in brown, black and white colors – each sourced from different production facilities throughout the US. Higher cost is the disadvantage of AlOx. To summarize, the AlOx properties are:
In terms of performance and pricing within the High-Performance Abrasive arena, Garnet resides between AlOx and Iron Silicate Copper Slag. Both pricing and performance of Garnet are greater than Iron Silicate Copper Slag – but less the AlOx. Garnet is however the Abrasive of choice in the Waterjet Cutting industry – in conjunction with Ultra-High Pressure (40,000 to 60,000 psi) Waterjets that precisely cut up to 2” plate steel or other materials. Pink to gray-pink in color, Garnet is also used in dry abrasive blasting operations were low dust, low Consumption Rate and high Production Rates with moderate costs are important. Garnet is derived from beach sands (alluvial – or sub-angular – Garnet) – or the mineral is mined out of the ground in Garnet rich veins (Hard-Rock Garnet – more angular than alluvial). To summarize Garnet properties:
Recycled Crush Glass is made from processing of post-consumer glass products such as glass bottles, jars and other glass containers & objects. It is used extensively in Slurry Blast systems whereby water is mixed with the Crushed Glass Abrasive (along with a Flash Rust Inhibitor) and the substrate is “wet” blasted to remove old coatings, corrosion, or other contaminates. Crush Glass has a light off-white color and used by many Abrasive Blasters because the residue is sometimes left on the ground (inert & innocuous residue). Very low free silica, very low trace heavy metals both contribute to the clean waste stream when using Crushed Glass. It is only around 6 MOHS Hardness – and will create some level of dust if used as dry abrasive. And the low density & relatively low hardness translates to using Crushed Glass in “light” cleaning operations. Crushed Glass features are:
Most Abrasive Blast operations are driven to use the lowest cost per square foot for a particular project. Factors that have the greatest impact on cost per square foot include:
If you need assistance is selecting the optimum Abrasive for your Blast Operation, call or email Keith ([email protected]) or Dan ([email protected]) at TCR Blast Abrasives to work through the process. We will demonstrate how to lower the overall cost per square foot for the Abrasive Blast Operation.