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The Most Common Types of Blasting Media

TENROADS introduces you to some of the most common blasting media.


We mention sand because it is commonly thought of as the main ingredient in sandblasting. In fact, it is now used less and less. This is mainly due to its silica content, which can cause serious respiratory problems when inhaled by the operator. In addition, sand retains moisture and transfers it to sandblasting equipment, which can lead to premature aging.

Steel shot and grit

Steel shot and grit are a good choice when you need to do heavy work. Steel shot is round and grit is angular. This material is made of steel and comes in a variety of hardnesses, sizes and shapes. It is commonly used for deburring, shot blasting, removing tough coatings and preparing epoxy coatings. It is an important medium for preparing structural steel for use.



Crossstone is an abrasive mined from metamorphic rocks. It can be used to remove thinner coatings of paint, oxide and rust and is also the abrasive of choice for removing weakened coatings from steel and mechanical parts. It also produces less dust than other abrasives, which makes it easier for operators to see what they are doing on the job.

Glass Beads

Glass beads are also available in a variety of sizes and are made of soda lime, which puts very little stress on the substrate. They are ideal for preparing metal surfaces for painting and powder coating, as well as for removing unwanted surface imperfections such as burrs, rust, paint and scale.



Plastic grit has a wide range of uses in sandblasting. This is because plastics are variable in size, hardness, shape and density, and can be manufactured to suit different needs. Typically, plastic abrasives come from polycarbonate, polystyrene or other similar compounds.

Aluminum Oxide

This Aluminum Oxide material is synthesized to be both hard and reusable. Its sharp edges, durability and low cost make it a popular choice for deburring operations and grinding. It can have rounded edges and is available in a variety of sizes, which means it can contain a large number of grains per cubic inch. This smaller grain size is ideal for polishing and smoothing surfaces.


Silicon Carbide

Silicon carbide is the hardest media available for sandblasting today. Because it is so hard, it requires less time than comparable media. Silicon carbide is available in a variety of sizes, from coarse grit to fine powder, and can be used to polish hard rocks such as granite. This abrasive can be used for grinding glass, removing oxides and any other application that requires an aggressive abrasive.

How to choose the right

These general sandblasting best practices cover how to choose the right media for the results you want.

When in doubt, "soft" wins: You can always add rougher abrasives, but it's a lot more work to undo too much hard abrasive. Especially if you're blasting something soft like wood, it's a good idea to start with corn cobs or walnut hulls. They won't damage the substrate underneath.

Glass is shiny, but it also makes the surface shine: If you need a polished look, glass beads are a good starting point. They are excellent dressers and will make the surface look smooth and bright. As a reusable abrasive, they are also a money saver.

If you need to remove paint from fiberglass, choose plastic: Plastic is perfect for applications that require cleaning of fiberglass. Plastic is much softer than metal and can remove paint without damaging the glass fibers beneath it.

Use silicon carbide for fast and aggressive etching: Silicon carbide is the toughest abrasive on the market. It allows for fast etching and removal of unwanted rust and paint.

Please contact us and our experts will help you to know the best media for you.

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