Soda Blasting – Pros & Cons & What it is
There are a variety of ways to sandblast products from vapor blasting to standard abrasive blasting. Each method has a variety of benefits and drawbacks depending on the application. This article will address soda blasting and cover the common uses of soda blasting, its benefits, its limitations, and other questions related to soda blasting. For similar questions related to vapor blasting you can review this article.
What is Soda Blasting
Soda Blasting is a form of sandblasting that uses baking soda as the sandblast media this is as opposed to other common forms of blast media like corn cob, walnut shell, coal slag, or steel medias. Compared to other forms of blast media baking soda is not as abrasive. From a practical standpoint this means that soda will not profile the surface you are blasting.
The Benefits of Soda Blasting
Since soda is not as abrasive or as hard of a blast media it will not alter the substrate of the product you are sandblasting but it will strip any existing paints or even rust from the surface of the product. Not altering the surface of the product you are sandblasting is useful when you may be trying to only clean a surface but not leave impact marks. Common applications where this is beneficial include blast cleaning cars, car frames, plastics, and other delicate materials.
An additional benefit to soda blasting is that you can use it in cleaning food grade products. Since baking soda is not a harmful chemical and is often used as a part of a cooking process, soda blasting offers an option for blasting a product without concern of food contamination.
Finally, since baking soda media absorbs well it can also be a very effective blast media to clean off greasy parts like engines and similar applications where you are primarily trying to remove oil or grease without altering the underlying products surface.
The limitations of Soda Blasting
While not profiling the underlying surface can be helpful when you are trying to remove contaminant without changing the underlying area there are situations where this is not ideal. First is if you need a surface profile. Certain paints require a surface profile so that the coating system specified by the paint company you are working with will adhere to the surface effectively for a long time. To achieve a surface profile you typically need a blast media like coal slag, acls courses, steel, or even glass blast media. If you do not properly profile a surface prior to applying the proper coating to the surface you can experience coating failure where the paint fails to bond to the surface and provide the protection it is supposed to.
A second situation where soda blasting may not be ideal is when you need to remove contaminants that are hard to remove. Many times with older painted products or coating systems that are highly durable the paint that remains on the surface of the product can be difficult to remove as it has formed a strong bond. Soda blasting will not typically remove coating that is strongly adhered to a surface or if it will take a long time.
Additionally, soda blasting is unique because it requires special sandblast pot considerations compared to most abrasive types. Typically to effectively use soda blasting you need to have a blast pot with a specific angle on the outlet of the pressure pot and a specific drive to properly stir the blast media. This equipment is a little more limited in use than a traditional sandblast pot which you can use with a variety of sandblast medias.
Most Common Soda Blasting Applications
- engine parts
- oil pumps
- fiberglass components
- aircraft parts
- delicate substrates
Ultimately soda blasting can be a great solution for stripping surfaces or cleaning dirty surfaces from grease or oil. Using a soda blaster provides a variety of solutions for stripping but not profiling a surface and can be used with food safe items. The limited additional use of soda blasting equipment can sometimes be a limiting consideration. We offer soda blasting equipment solutions that you can check out here.