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What is Wet Blasting?

Article Details
  • Written By: Malcolm Tatum
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 04 April 2018
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2018
    Conjecture Corporation
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Also known as slurry blasting, wet abrasive blasting or wet sand blasting, wet blasting is a method of blast cleaning that makes use of sand and water in the process. In recent decades, other elements have been used in place of or along with sand, including plastic or ceramic beads. This approach is considered safer than dry blasting methods, since the amount of airborne particles is reduced. In many instances, this form of blasting is ideal for cleaning different types of masonry, including brickwork, sidewalks, and concrete walls.

One of the major benefits of wet blasting is the simplicity of the process. By combining sand with water, it is possible to create a steady stream that bombards the surface of some type of masonry, loosening dirt and other matter from the surface. The abrasive action of this method is highly effective since it actually scrubs the surface rather than simply applying some type of cleaning agent to the masonry. The end result is a surface that is free of grime.

Most of the equipment designed for use in wet blasting involves controls that help to manage the mixing of the water and sand in a manner that is considered appropriate for the type of material that is to be cleaned. A higher concentration of sand in the water may be ideal for situations in which the surface of the masonry is pocketed, as is often the case with brickwork. For relatively smoother surfaces, a lesser amount of sand per gallon of water may do just as well.

Directing the flow of the water and sand combination, which is sometimes known as a slurry, is usually managed with the aid of a high-pressure hose. This makes it possible to control the angle and direction of the stream directed at the surface, allowing the cleaning to be conducted in the most efficient manner. Typically, there is also equipment that can be used to remove the expended sand from the site, usually by using some type of suction hose to collect the sand into a holding tank. Many companies providing this type of service also handle the cleanup after the job is complete, making it possible for the area to be more visually attractive than it was before the wet blasting took place.

Wet blasting is often used to remove grime from sidewalks, the exterior walls of buildings, or even freestanding walls that enclose residential and commercial real estate. The same general process is sometimes used in the manufacture of various types of metal components, effectively removing residue from recently manufactured parts before they are inspected and packaged for shipment to sellers and customers. It is not unusual for metal components that are about to be recycled or refurbished to also be subjected to wet blasting, making the task of preparing the components for additional use much easier.

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