What Is Bead Blasting?
Bead blasting is a high-pressure cleaning practice that is less damaging to surfaces than traditional abrasive blasting. The most common type of media used in bead blasting is small, spherical particles of glass that are shot with air pressure to remove coatings or polish the surface. Other types of media used in bead blasting include silicone carbide and stainless steel beads. Overall, glass bead blasting produces the smoothest finish to the surface.
Bead Blasting Vs. Peening
Sometimes, bead blasting is referred to as peening. However, peening is actually the process used to clean wood, thin metals or any other items that are prone to breakage during the process of bead blasting. While bead blasting chips pieces of a surface away, peening utilizes the plasticity of a product in order to pound the piece into a desired shape or texture. Because it is not abrasive, peening removes less material from the product and produces less dust than bead blasting. Conversely, bead blasting a surface generally tends to harden the material through compaction, which gives the items an increased resistance to deformation and scratching.
Uses and Benefits of Bead Blasting
Bead blasting is often used to clean calcium deposits from tiling and brighten grout color. Glass bead blasting produces a much smoother and brighter surface than other angular medias. Put simply, smaller glass bead blasting produces smoother surfaces, whereas larger glass bead results in more texture to the surface. Glass bead used in bead blasting are always manufactured from lead-free, soda-lime glass and contains no free silica. Beyond this, glass bead is also spherically shaped and uniform in size and hardness, making it one of the most versatile blast finishing materials available. Glass bead is a low dust abrasive; therefore, it is environmentally safe and economical because it can be used up to 30 times in a blast booth. For metal surfaces, bead blasting is primarily used in blasting cabinets or blast rooms for honing, polishing, peening, removing light burs and cleaning foreign matter. Bead blasting is also used for blasting thin welds and provides the right balance of stress relief with out over-stressing the weld and causing damage.