Blasting Media and Abrasives Information

Blasting media and abrasiveBlasting media and abrasives are consumables used in surface preparation processes such as sandblasting and peening. Blasting media and abrasives consist of:

  • abrasive grains
  • plastic grit
  • glass beads
  • nut shells
  • carbonates
  • steel shot
  • cut wire
  • other shapes


Angular or sharp media is used for deburring, descaling (rust or oxide removal), paint and coating stripping, surface texturing (roughening or etching), and cleaning. Round metal shot, ceramic balls, or glass beads are used for peening applications. Shot peening imparts a compressive residual stress within the surface of the part, which can greatly improve fatigue strength. Improved fatigue strength is useful in improving the operating life of rotating shafts or rotary machinery components under load variations with a high number of cycles.


Blasting media and abrasives include an abrasive blast media. Examples include:

  • silicon carbide grit blast media
  • plastic media blast
  • sand blast media
  • glass bead blast media

Silicon carbide grit blast media is the hardest blasting media and provides very fast cutting speeds. Plastic blast media is used with plastic media blast equipment that delivers consistent performance and a high stripping rate. Sand blast media is an economical, effective stripping and blast cleaning method that uses silica sand. Glass bead blast media is a silica-free way to peen, clean, and debur materials. Many forms of abrasive blast media are used in deburring or peening processes.


Blasting media and abrasives are used to provide surface texturing, etching, finishing, and degreasing for products made of wood, plastic, or glass. The most important properties to consider are chemical composition and density; particle shape and size; and impact resistance. Silicon carbide grit blast media is brittle, sharp, and suitable for grinding metals and low-tensile strength, non-metallic materials. Plastic media blast equipment uses plastic abrasives that are sensitive to substrates such as aluminum, but still suitable for de-coating and surface finishing. Sand blast media uses high-purity crystals that have low-metal content. Glass bead blast media contains glass beads of various sizes. Shot peening is performed on gears after carburizing, increasing a gear’s life from 200,000 cycles to 30,000,000 cycles.


Blasting media and abrasives are used in many applications. Examples include paint stripping, deflashing, and deburring. Blast media and blasting abrasives are also used with rubber molds, aircraft components, and printed circuit boards (PCBs).

Related Information

CR4 Community—Compressed Air Dryer for Home Shop

CR4 Community—Removal of Epoxy Paint

CR4 Community—Sand Blasting Data Required

Engineering360—Sodium Bicarbonate Is an Environmentally Friendly Blasting Abrasive

Image credit:

Stephen R Woolverton / CC BY-SA 3.0