WHAT IS WET / VAPOR ABRASIVE BLASTING?
WET ABRASIVE BLASTING COMPARED TO SAND BLASTING
Wet abrasive blasting (also known as vapor abrasive blasting) removes coatings, contaminants, corrosion and residues from hard surfaces. It’s similar to dry sand blasting, except that the blast media is moistened prior to impacting the surface.
The main advantage of vapor abrasive blasting over sand blasting is that it reduces dust, allowing for operators to work in a wide range of environments with minimal setup and cleanup costs. It results in a cleaner, more consistent finished, ready to coat, with no embedded particles or clinging dust.
Vapor abrasive blasting is alternatively referred to as wet blasting, wet abrasive blasting, vapor blasting, slurry blasting, wet
sandblasting and dustless blasting.
WHAT HAPPENS ON IMPACT
When abrasive impacts a hard surface, the particle often breaks or shatters, propelling finer particles into the air as dust, in addition to dust already present in the dry media. This impact can also cause dry sparks charged with static electricity.
When wet abrasive impacts a surface, fine particles are sequestered in water droplets. The additional water weighs the particles down, preventing dust.
The presence of water also confers more mass on the particle at impact. As the water droplet disperses, the hydrostatic force blasts away surface coating, leaving a feathered edge around the perimeter for seamless recoatings.
WET/ABRASIVE BLASTING APPLICATIONS
Wet abrasive blasting can substitute for sandblasting for virtually any application, but there are surfaces, conditions and environments for which wet blasting is especially advantageous.
ALONGSIDE OTHER WORKERS
Dust from dry blasting presents not only an inhalation health hazard, but severely limits visibility. Whereas dry blasting operations must be sequestered from normal operations, wet blasters can work in close proximity with other workers with minimal precautionary measures.
Dry blasting can cast dry sparks charged with static electricity which can lead to explosions in the presence of flammable gases. Wet blasting does not completely eliminate sparks, but when sparks occur they are cold sparks (without static electricity), minimizing the explosive potential.
Wet blasters can operate effectively at lower PSI, removing coatings without damaging the underlying substrate. Vapor abrasive blasting is a preferred method for blasting antique, fragile surfaces and soft surfaces (including wood). In addition, the presence of lubricating water reduces heat due to friction that can warp metal surfaces.
Dry blasting requires substantial containment/tenting to maintain airborne dust levels within legal limits. In outdoor and urban environments, such containment is not practical or cost-effective. Due to inherent dust suppression, vapor abrasive blasting operations require minimal containment.