Breakdown of Sandblasting Media for Asset Substrates

Breakdown of Sandblasting Media for Asset Substratesfeatured image

Posted on April 25, 2023 by Brent Phillips

When it comes to tanks, an unmaintained one isn’t helpful at protecting the water it stores. Therefore, regular maintenance is essential in making sure the tank stays operational and protects a community’s most precious resource from water contamination.

To help better understand how water asset management works, it’s important to know there are different types of sandblasting media used to prep and clean asset substrates.

Blast Medias

Blast media or abrasive blast is a general term for the type of material used to remove surface contaminants from different types of substrates. The history of blast media began with silica, also known as sand, which led to the phrase sandblasting.

Today sandblasting media can come in many forms and can be used for different functions, such as:

  • Cleaning and stripping
  • Surface priming
  • Polishing and smoothing

Common sandblasting media vary depending upon the type of substrate. For instance, a steel water tank is best cleaned of existing coatings, rust, and carbon buildup using a silica blasting media.

Although there are many other types of blast media available on the market, not all are good for use on water tanks or towers. The three blast media we’ll talk about in this blog are:

  • Silica Blasting Media
  • Soda Media
  • Coal Slag

Silica Blasting Media

A silica-blasting media is essentially sand. When placed under air pressure it is a top performer at removing contaminants from metal surfaces such as steel storage tanks. The particles are small enough to not get embedded into the metal, although commonly used on the exterior surfaces of tanks and towers.

Soda Media

A common kitchen staple, baking soda, is also used as a blast media. Although soda media can remove rust and is an excellent environmentally friendly choice for cleaning up a surface, it is not as effective at completely clearing deep pockets of corrosion. It’s better used for general cleaning or gently removing paint from fiberglass or chrome.

Coal Slag

Another commonly used blasting media is coal slag. The media contains less than 0.1% of silica and is known for being moisture free. It’s excellent at the removal of corrosion, scale, and coatings from heavy-gauge steel found in marine environments. With a high Mohs rating of 7, it makes for a superior choice to prep a surface prior to recoating.

Water Tank and Tower Restoration

If you’re responsible for water asset management for your city and are looking for a team of experienced professionals in the water tank and tower restoration, contact the team at Cunningham. Their experts can inspect and restore your water assets.

At Cunningham, we’ll provide you with a detailed report on the current state of your municipality’s water tower, standpipe, or tank. Contact us today to schedule an inspection by calling (620) 848-3030.