Shotblasting, Sandblasting, Glass Beading, and Ceramic Blasting
Shotblasting, sandblasting, glass beading, and ceramic blasting are all methods used to clean, strengthen (peen) or polish metal. Shot blasting is used in almost every industry that uses metal components, including aerospace, automotive, construction, foundry, shipbuilding, rail, and many others. Sandblasting and glass beading is used in applications where the material being blasted is softer or requires less abrasion than what is provided through shotblasting.
The results of ceramic bead blasting are not comparable with the results of glass bead blasting. The technique of glass bead blasting is well known and often used in order to obtain a uniform finish, specifically for tooling stainless steel. Glass bead blasting of stainless steel, however, has a number of important disadvantages. Material is often blasted with a high percentage of broken beads caused by the high break down rate of glass beads, resulting in a relatively high roughness (1.5-3.0 microns). In practice it has been proven that surfaces that have been blasted with glass beads show a high rate of dirt adhesion and are difficult to clean. As a result of contamination of the surface and a high roughness, combined with difficulties to clean and rinse, corrosion can occur even in a relatively mild (atmospheric) environment.
By contrast, blasting with ceramic beads does not have the disadvantages mentioned. The break down rate of ceramic beads is 50 times less than that of glass beads. Because of this, it can be guaranteed that purely round beads (approximately 100 microns) are used always. This immediately results in the visual effect of ceramic bead-blasted surfaces: a uniform satin shine finish. Depending on the roughness of the beginning material, a roughness less than 1.0 micron can be achieved.