When You Need It Cleaned Fast: Abrasive Blasting for Protective Coating Application

When You Need It Cleaned Fast: Abrasive Blasting for Protective Coating Application

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High performance coatings have improved in recent years to provide advanced and durable protection from corrosion, rust, wear, and weathering in some of the harshest conditions on the planet. Everything from full salt or freshwater immersion to intense cycles of heat and cold, powerful UV radiation from the sun, windblown sand and dust, and constant contact with oils, lubricants, and other chemicals can wreak havoc on a high performance coating, exposing the underlying metal to the elements. Heat-treated aluminium and steel are some of the most commonly used metals in the architectural, construction, transportation, and manufacturing sectors, selected for their high strength or light weight, cost-effectiveness, and machinability. However, both are unfortunately vulnerable to salt-water corrosion, oxidation, rust, and other types of corrosion that can weaken structural connections and cause components to structurally fail or cease to perform properly. The high performance coating industry has developed coatings to provide excellent protection, as well as refined methods for preparing surfaces for the application of such coatings.

Abrasive Blasting Methods

Sand blasting was discovered as an effective method that takes advantage of the abrasive nature of silica sand, applied through a pressurised delivery system consisting of high air pressure, a supply of fine sand, and a nozzle, to thoroughly strip and clean surfaces in preparation for painting or application of protective coatings. Alternatives to sand as an abrasive media have been developed to provide different levels of abrasion and include media such as crushed walnuts, soda particles, steel grit, oxidised aluminium, and others. Portable delivery systems are available to provide abrasive blasting in Perth and surrounding areas in cases when the materials to be cleaned are not practically mobile enough to transport to an in-house abrasive blasting facility, as is the case with masonry walls, concrete flooring, and other materials. This mobile service makes the efficiency of abrasive blasting available to a wide range of otherwise prohibitive applications.

High Performance Coatings Are Only as Good as the Underlying Substrate

If the underlying substrate hasn’t been properly prepared and treated prior to application of the coating, it doesn’t matter how well a protective coating performs or how much corrosion, wear, or abrasion resistance testing it has undergone. It’s a fact that the instant a metal comes out of the kiln, forge, or extrusion press, it begins to corrode and oxidise in contact with the air. Oxygen, or O2 in its gaseous form, is extremely corrosive, and bare metal surfaces are vulnerable to damage from oxidation and rust when exposed to O2. High performance coatings form extremely adherent bonds to metals, but they require adequate surfaces to achieve such adhesion, and the natural layer of oxidised metal on any metal surface prevents proper adhesion. The process of sandblasting was developed and has been refined with the use of other abrasives as an alternative to sand (silica) to provide numerous methods of abrasive blasting that can efficiently and thoroughly clean metallic and other surfaces in preparation for the application of high performance coatings.

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