All About Vapour Blasting

Posted On September 9, 2015

Vapour blasting is a mixture of water vapour, abrasive media and compressed air. It is a non-aggressive blasting process used to remove unwanted rust, paint and scale from many different surfaces. It is also used in removing excessive material from rubber or plastic. The primary aim of the process is to clean and restore. It is both gentle and efficient. It removes only the unwanted materials, leaving the shape and dimension of the surface intact. This process has come handy in preparing surfaces (including Copper, Titanium, Magnesium, Brass, Bronze and Aluminium) for bridges, coating, nuclear plants and many other uses. The selling point is in its cost effectiveness and Eco friendliness.

How Does Vapour Blasting Work?

The process entails the creation of a slurry mix (mixture of water and abrasive media). Pressure is applied with the aid of a power unit and the operator applies the blast nozzle. The slurry mix is kept continuously agitated to prevent the settling of the abrasive. The vapour blast is a process that requires the abrasive to be suspended in a liquid (treated water) and projected by high velocity compressed air in high velocity.

Choosing an Abrasive for Vapour Blasting

The choice of abrasive to be used depends primarily on the nature of surface involved (pre cleaned or coated surface) and the type of treatment desired (cleaning or restoration). The available abrasives include Sand, Steel Shot, Steel Grit, Slag, Carbides, Glass Beads, Flint Garnet, Alumina and Organics (shells, cobs, etc.). Three of the preferred choices are described below:

  • Corn Cobs: When the surface to be cleaned is delicate, the corncob is a preferred abrasive. This is popular in polishing wood, cleaning of glass and stone.   
  • Plastic Grits: This is the perfect choice for fibreglass. It is appropriate when one seeks to remove stain and avoid damaging the surface.  
  • Glass bead: This is appropriate for general cleaning. It is a very fine material and leaves a matte or satin finish.

What are the Benefits of Vapour Blasting?

The benefits include: 

  • Cost effectiveness: It reduces the quantity of abrasive to be used and has the cost of disposal.  
  • Portability: the equipment required for this kind of blast is portable and easy to move (with the aid of a crane or forklift) from one location to another. 
  • Virtually dust free: the process substantially reduces dust. Dust particles that can enter the nose or eyes and cost temporary discomfort are eliminated. There is also no risk of inhaling the dust or entering the body through open wound, abrasion or skin absorption.