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Media Selection for Slurry Blast Operations

Media Selection for Slurry Blast Operations

  • Posted by: Keith Gabbard
  • Category: Abrasive Knowledge

The low-dust Slurry Blast machines have gained popularity due to their inherent lack of dust – while maintaining a portion of the Production speed compared to dry blasting operations.

Slurry Blast unit manufacturers (think EcoQuip from Graco, Dustless Blasting, Greener Blast, Clemco Wetblast Flex) have typically recommended Crushed Glass Abrasive as the media of choice for the slurry blend (water + abrasive).

Crushed Glass Abrasive is possibly the best media for less aggressive removal operations such as:

  • Sheet Metal surface prep
  • Brick / concrete restoration
  • Graffiti removal
  • Deglossing operations (as opposed to full paint removal)
  • Log Home / wood siding stain removal
  • Fiberglass prep
  • Lawn Furniture
  • Wood Deck prep
  • Fire Damage Restoration work
  • Softer Substrates such as wood, fiberglass, marble, concrete, etc.

However, when removing thick coatings or corrosion, it is worth considering the use of more aggressive media in the Slurry Blast operation.  A high-performance Copper Slag is more aggressive than Crushed Glass when it comes to removal of tenacious coatings or heavy corrosion.

The reason is two-fold:

  1. High Performance Copper Slag is a harder, more stable abrasive – it will not break down as easily as Crushed Glass and as a result is more efficient at removal.
  2. Copper Slag is more dense – around 115 lbs/cu.ft. compared to 80 lbs/cu.ft. for Crushed Glass – and therefore imparts much more energy to the surface for cleaning / removal operations.

Surface Preparation projects where High Performance Copper Slag Abrasive will likely prove to be beneficial and more cost effective include:

  • Structural Steel
  • Auto / Truck Frames
  • Coated Cast or Wrought Iron
  • Heavy (thick) steel components

And more good news – High Performance Copper Slag costs about the same per lb as the Crushed Glass.

Other medias to consider for use in Slurry Blast machines include Garnet for finer profile (more expensive per lb), Aluminum Oxide (more costly still), or even coal slag (least expensive and not a great improvement over the Crushed Glass).

The point is to keep in mind that proper Media selection for Slurry Blast operations (or dry blast operations for that matter) will go a long way to achieving successful Surface Preparations.

If there are any questions as to the most appropriate Blast Abrasive, please contact TCR Blast Abrasives for discussion.

Author: Keith Gabbard
Keith Gabbard has been helping blast shops and industrial painting contractors for almost 40 years and he understands the keys to improving blasting systems that can make a huge difference in your performance and profits.