From Sandblasting to Abrasive Blasting: The Major Differences


Sandblasting is a cleaning technique that began back in the 1870s when an American inventor discovered that bombarding a material with sand pellets could restore it by getting rid of accumulated sediments. The procedure works perfectly as long as the target surface is harder than the sand but the dirt being cleaned is softer than the sand.

It’s efficiency made it a standard cleaning procedure in different industries where sand and dust extraction was feasible after the abrading process.

How is Abrasive Blasting Different?

Unlike sandblasting that solely uses sand as the abrading agent, abrasive blasting is a more liberal term that refers to the same sandblasting procedure. But here the sand is replaced with different material. Abrasive blasting gives you the freedom to choose the abrading material’s hardness.

While sand works fine on steel, iron and other sturdy materials, it might be too much for wood, softer metals or glass. Alternative non-sand abrasives would be a better alternative since they can be as soft or as hard depending on your target surface. Some alternatives include:

1. Glass beads
2. Aluminium oxide
3. Coal slag
4. Copper slag
5. Nickel slag
6. Sponge media
7.Steel grit or shot

Abrasive Blasting is Common

Most modern industries embrace different abrasive media and will more often than not avoid sand. While some think sand doesn’t suit their abrading needs, other companies do not use it because of the adverse health effects of silica released during the blasting process.

Silicosis happens when a person suffers from the inflammation of the lungs. The inhalation of silica scars the lungs upper lobes and causes fever, coughs, and bluish skin. Everyone that is near the sandblasting area is in danger of exposure to silica inhalation.

Even though sandblasting was the initial idea that gave birth to abrasive cleaning, abrasive blasting now uses different materials to clean any surface. It is a better and cleaner alternative to sandblasting methods, and has made cleaning metals a safer process.