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Steel Grit Vs Coal Slag Blast Media

You may be in the process of considering a blast media reclamation system when you have currently been using some version of coal slag. With a blast media reclamation system the common blast medias you will consider are varied but often will be a steel grit type blast media. This article will cover the benefits of steel grit vs coal slag blast medias.

Steel Grit Pros

  • It’s a harder more productive blast media – Steel grit is harder compared to coal slag, this extra hardness allows you faster blast production times because the extra hardness will take deposits off of substrates quicker. In some cases it will remove deposits that may not be easily freed from a substrate with a coal slag media.
  • It will last multiple uses – Steel blast media will often last up to 200 life cycles before breaking down. This results in you being able to reuse the steel grit multiple times without buying additional blast media.
  • It will cost less for your blast media – Once your blast equipment is purchased recycling the blast media will result in significant cost savings. It is not uncommon for consumable blast media like coal slag to cost around $300 dollars per ton in our market while recyclable steel blast medias will cost around $1200 but they will last up to 200 uses before needing replaced compared to a single use for coal slag media.

Steel Grit Cons

  • Its more aggressive on equipment – due to being harder than consumable blast medias it will wear down blast pot components a bit quicker, from your exhaust muffler to your blast nozzle steel blast medias can require a bit more frequent replacement of blast equipment parts
  • It requires blast media recovery equipment for effective use – To benefit from the recyclability of the steel blast media you will typically need a blast media recovery system. The common solution is a mechanical blast media recovery system but you can also consider a pneumatic blast media recovery system if your system is specifically designed to accommodate heavy steel grit.
  • It is expensive if you are doing field work – Steel grit medias will typically not be used for field blasting as field blasting will not usually allow for recovery of your blast media

Coal Slag Pros

  • Coal slag is a lower initial cost – Coal Slag is about $1000 dollars cheaper per ton
  • Coal slag doesn’t hurt equipment as quickly
  • It is an ideal solution for field blasting – Due to being a lower cost and to the fact that you cannot easily recover blast media when your doing blast work in the field coal slag can be effective when you need to prepare a surface in the field

Coal Slag Cons

  • It is not as productive – due to being a softer substance coal slag will break down faster than steel grit blast media and will not be as aggressive in removing contaminants from the blast surface
  • It is not very reusable – you may be able to get a second use at most out of coal slag media but it will be significantly less effective at removing surface contaminant

Ultimately coal slag and steel grit are common blast media options knowing the benefit and drawbacks of each can help you better decide which is right for you. You can also contact us to receive a free calculator showing the cost savings associated with recovering blast media.


  •  Photo courtesy of  Stephen R Woolverton  I (Swoolverton (talk))

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