When it comes to heavy duty cleaning, there are some cleaning methods that won’t do the trick. In industrial settings, rinsing surfaces isn’t effective enough. In order to clean automotive parts and other complicated surfaces, using a vapor blaster is the best option.
Not only is vapor blasting effective enough to meet industry standards, but it also reduces impact and polishes various surfaces.
So, what is vapor blasting? Well, we’ll answer that question and more in the information below.
What Is Vapor Blasting?
Vapor blasting is often referred to as liquid honing, wet blasting, vapor honing, slurry blasting, or dustless blasting. It’s a process that involves getting rid of contaminants from a surface using pressurized water and abrasive blast media.
When abrasive media is mixed with water and pressurized with compressed air, it’s categorized as slurry blasting. The combination of blast media and water is referred to as slurry.
How Does Vapor Blasting Work?
During the process of outdoor dustless blasting, abrasive is flushed out using compressed air. There’s a second hose that will either start the water injection process or create a halo of water. The halo pushes away a portion of the dust that forms while using the vapor blaster.
On the other hand, slurry blasting occurs when water and abrasive media are combined within a pressurized container. It is then propelled in the direction of an object within the enclosure. Slurry blasting is great for stripping or cleaning items like aluminum wheels or engine parts.
Certain outdoor dustless blasting devices combine abrasive and water together in a slurry blast cabinet. Next, the mixture is pressurized within a vessel using water and compressed air to create the pressure. Once that’s complete, the slurry is transferred into the air flow of the blast hose.
Vapor Blasting vs. Dry Blasting
Vapor blasting is much gentler than dry blasting in most situations. The abrasive is cushioned by the water. When using traditional dry blasting, the abrasive impacts the soil and breaks it down into small fragments, resulting in dust.
The water dampens the effect of wet blasting. The fragments are kept in the water while the abrasive reaches the blasted surface. After that, the used blast media is deposited in a drain basin.
There are also some significant variations in vapor and dry blasting. The abrasive strikes at an angle while dry blasting, leaving an anchor profile.
The Contrast Between Vapor Blasting and Sandblasting
Sandblasting, also known as abrasive blasting, is a massive surface preparation process that involves propelling sand particles and other abrasive materials against surfaces with pressurized air. Sandblasting produces a clean surface profile that increases adhesion between the surface and the fresh coat of paint.
It also eliminates old paint, soil, pollutants, rust, and deterioration. The coatings last longer as a result.
It’s important to calibrate the blasting machinery and choose the right blasting media for every application before you start sandblasting.
Glass beads, aluminum oxide, steel grit, silicon carbide, and steel shot are examples of hard abrasives. On the other hand, baking soda, silicone beads, and walnut shells are examples of soft abrasives.
Soft abrasives are better at scraping old paint, debris, and toxins from both soft and hard metals, as well as inhibitors made of fiberglass, rubber, composites, plastic, or wood, than hard abrasives.
For instance, soft abrasives can easily strip dirt, fouling, old paint, rust, and decay from manufacturing equipment including storage tanks, silos, and machines while causing no damage to the substrate.
While sandblasting is a very effective surface preparation process, it also necessitates a significant volume of blasting media and generates a lot of dust. Sandblasting practices will dramatically increase the total cost of an industrial paint job and lead to further waste that has to be discarded—depending on the details of each job.
Not only that, but protection must be taken into account. Industrial painters doing sandblasting work should use proper PPE, such as respirators and ear covers.
Additionally, careful dust collection systems are needed in enclosed areas to avoid fires caused by dust accumulation.
Vapor blasting decreases the specific surface deformation on surfaces and produces a perfect finish. The stream of water and the media provide a soft cleaning result even on fragile surfaces. Water also serves as a flushing agent, preventing blasting media from accumulating on the surface being packed.
In contrast to sandblasting, vapor blasting uses less abrasive. As a result, it provides a more cost-effective surface preparation option.
Furthermore, the thin layer of water reduces dust concentrations, effectively suppressing atmospheric dust. This eliminates the effect of vapor blasting operations on all other practices that could be going on at the same time.
Vapor blasting has been the preferred technique for many painting jobs because it is an environmentally safe method of producing contaminant-free surfaces by using less water.
When it comes to protection, vapor blasting can be done in both open and sealed areas with limited personal protective equipment. It also eliminates the possibility of dust explosions.
Vapor Blasting: A Trip Down Memory Lane
During World War II, England was the first to create vapor blasting. This technique was invented by Rolls-Royce to peen and complete the surface of turbine blades before they were assembled into jet engines.
Since sandblasting workers developed silicosis, a lifelong respiratory disease, crystalline silica was outlawed in England in 1950. Norman Ashworth started designing the first wet blasters in the late 1950s. This was the beginning of the dustless blasting era.
Because of the health effects, most European countries followed England’s example and outlawed crystalline silica sandblasting in 1966.
From the 1970s to the 1990s, Europe built outside wet blasting units. Throughout the 2000s and into today’s time, wet blasting has experienced a revival in success and technology.
Uses for a Vapor Blaster
Vapor blasting is needed for a variety of applications, such as the following:
Cleaning grease, rust, factory plant coatings, and other toxins from old car or motorcycle components using vapor blasting is a smart option. Wet blasting speeds up the washing and stripping process while still providing a softer finish.
Once the process is complete ,the titanium, chrome, or steel surfaces have a smoother surface.
Standard sandblasting is ineffective for certain workers because it is too harmful to the substrate. There are periods when wet blasting with a lower PSI and finer media is preferable. These facilities include historical or antique preservation, wood restoration, fire hazard cleanup, and graffiti removal.
When the abrasive crashes against the blasted surface during dry sandblasting, the abrasive particles break into smaller bits and ashes. The static electric charge produced by this abrasive dust causes dry sparks. Sandblasting in the presence of flammable gases may result in a fire or explosion.
There is also a risk of sparks of damp dustless blasting because of the dust particles. Fortunately, since they are cold sparks, the chance of an eruption is significantly minimized.
Vapor Blaster for Soft Metal
Dry blasting generates frictional heat on the sprayed surface. This induces undesirable warping in weaker metals.
Wet blasting eliminates the frictional heat produced by abrasive blasting, making it a safer option for stainless steel or aluminum blasting.
There are periods when wet blasting is the safest option due to airborne dust restrictions. Dust containment is less of a problem since the water regulates much of the dust generated by outside abrasive blasting.
Engineering and Aerospace
In infrastructure applications, vapor blasting is mainly used to get rid of oxidation, carbon deposits, paint, and other pollutants. Cleaning and peening aircraft parts and surfaces is also typical.
Vapor Blasting Benefits
Using a vapor blaster for various jobs has many advantages. Here are a few of them
Wet blasting decreases dust production and mud splashes, which improves operator vision and reduces occupational injuries. A respirator, eye shield, and hearing shields are normally appropriate personal protection equipment when wet blasting (PPE).
Dry blasting in the conventional sense necessitates maximum security safety, such as a blast shield, a blast coat, and blast gloves.
Water or another liquid is used to moisten the abrasive in vapor abrasive blasters. In a pressurized pot, the abrasive and water are combined and then pumped into the airflow.
As opposed to conventional dry blasting, the water contains and grounds the spores, minimizing dust generation by up to 95%.
Cleaning and Washing Together
Vapor abrasive blasting cleans materials in the same way dry blasting does. Vapor abrasive blasting, on the other hand, is more successful. In addition to abrasive washing, a vapor blaster may also be used to scrub floors without the use of abrasive media.
They’re good for scraping rust from holes and crevices, and rinsing away soluble salts and other chemicals that create flash rust. This eliminates the need for a second pressure washer.
Dry blasting procedures, in most situations, necessitate complete confinement to prohibit blast pollutants and debris from escaping the jobsite. A vapor blaster has a range of benefits, one of which is the decrease in the need for containment.
Since water encapsulates and weighs down emissions and contaminants, they can be easily contained with less precautionary efforts.
Less Water Consumption
Traditional wet blasting devices use up to 80% more water than a vapor blaster. Vapor abrasive blasting produces a thin, managed pile of debris. That’s better than a large mud puddle to clean up, handle, and discard.
Works for Multiple Applications
A vapor blaster has highly flexible abrasive/water blend and air pressure. As as result, it makes it suitable for both large and small applications. Vapor blasting can be used to prepare a variety of jobs—from white metal to fragile surfaces.
Dry blasting has a caustic impact on the surfaces of materials, but it also puts a lot of strain on the machines. This problem is mostly solved with vapor abrasive blasting.
The abrasive acts as a lubricant when it is hydrated before exiting the nozzle. Therefore, it reduces wear on hoses, nozzles, and valves.
Less Strain on Operators
In a pressurized tank, vapor abrasive blasting combines water and abrasive. A vapor blaster, unlike slurry blasters, are lightweight devices that do not need a long water hose to bind to the nozzle.
It decreases worker strain and fatigue when combined with the low vibration level.
Vapor abrasive blasters operate on less water and abrasive, which results in less containment and cleanup. They can be used in places where conventional dry blasting is prohibitively costly. This mean they are appropriate for communities and environmentally vulnerable areas.
Less Media Consumption
Because of their increased size and hydrostatic power, wet particles generated by vapor abrasive blasting do more work. A higher quality of abrasive is better for wet abrasive blasters. The reason being is because it results in more effects and less media use.
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Use a Vapor Blaster on Your Next Big Project
As you can see, a vapor blaster has countless benefits. When it comes to maintaining and sanitizing certain environments, vapor blasting is your best bet. Not only that, but if you have employees that are constantly working on these types of projects, you want to make sure that they are safe as they are working.
By using a more gentle method of cleaning, you can ensure the health and well-being of your employees.
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