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Soda Blasting Details

Soda blasting is the conclusive answer to difficult cleaning problems.  Delicate fixtures and glass cannot be sandblasted or media blasted because of etching.  A concrete floor inside of a house, office or apartment may require the use of dangerous solvents, which may cause a health hazard to occupants nearby.

Soda blasting is environmentally friendly, and uses a substance that everyone is familiar with - sodium bicarbonate (baking soda).

  1. N.A.C.E. & S.S.P.C. Standards
  2. Cleaner Surfaces in Small Passageways
  3. Finds Surface Flaws Easier
  4. Safer to Use Around Flammable Vapors & Fluids
  5. Uses No Dangerous Solvents
  6. NaHCO3 is Not an Irritant
  7. Benefits to Wastewater Treatment Systems
  8. Cost-Effective Cleanup
  9. Reduces Surface Acids
  10. Natural Rust Inhibitor
  11. Reduces Solid Waste
  12. No Re-Profiling of Metals
  13. No Pre-Cleaning
  14. Unique Cutting Action
  15. Cleaning & Stripping

N.A.C.E. & S.S.P.C. Standards
Soda blasting will attain a level of clean that will meet the standards of both N.A.C.E. International (The Corrosion Society) and S.S.P.C. (Steel Structures Paint Council - The Society for Protective Coatings)

  • N.A.C.E 1 (SP-5) White Metal Blast Cleaning
  • N.A.C.E 2 (SP-10) Near-White Blasting Cleaning
  • N.A.C.E 3 ( SP-6) Commercial Blasting Cleaning
  • N.A.C.E 4 (SP-7) Brush-Off Blasting Cleaning

Cleaner Surfaces in Small Passageways
Standard grades of soda blast media (without hard aggregate) are 100% water soluble. They can be used to clean critical engine components including those with small passageways. Once cleaned, the soda residue can be thoroughly rinsed off by dissolving in water. Traditional blast media are not water soluble and if left after cleaning, can pack into small passageways and possibly damage an engine while in operation.

Finds Surface Flaws Easier
When cleaning metal surfaces for crack detection, such as aluminum heads, standard abrasive blasting tends to peen the crack closed or pack the crack with abrasive, making crack detection more difficult. Baking soda media actually cleans out the crack, leaving it exposed and easy to find.

Safer to Use Around Flammable Vapors & Fluids

Standard grades of soda blast media (without hard aggregate) will not produce thermal sparks and are suitable for use in explosion proof areas: including refineries, chemical plants and grain elevators as long as proper grounding techniques are used to prevent a static charge build-up.

Uses No Dangerous Solvents

Soda formula is an excellent de-greasing media that eliminates the uses of solvents in most cleaning processes. Soda does not “dissolve” or “emulsify” grease and oils, it simply coats them causing the grease or oil to release from the surface. It also eliminates the translocation of oil and grease.

NaHCO3 is Not an Irritant
The safety of sodium bicarbonate to workers is well understood, since it has been in use for some 160 years. The bicarbonate buffer system is the major extra cellular buffer in the human body, thus sodium bicarbonate is part of the body’s normal chemistry. Sodium bicarbonate is not toxic via ingestion, inhalation or dermal contact, nor is it a skin or eye irritant as defined by E.P.A. and O.S.H.A. Any risk to workers is primarily the containment or coating removed during the blasting operation. Soda blasting can help reduce or remove unfriendly odors while removing contaminants.

Benefits to Wastewater Treatment Systems
In most non-hazardous applications, the residue from soda blasting can be rinsed into sanitary drains or sewers which flush the baking soda residue to a water treatment facility, greatly reducing clean-up time. Sodium bicarbonate is actually beneficial to waste water treatment systems. For industrial treatment systems, where chemical neutralization is a major cost in water treatment, soda blast media can often save significant dollars in waste treatment.

Cost-Effective Cleanup
Soda blast media performs roughly the same level of work (somewhat slower) as sand blasting while producing 1/7 of the total waste volume. Although soda blasting media costs per square foot are higher, site clean-up and residue disposal are significantly lower. The net balance is that total cost per square foot is about the same for both approaches.

Reduces Surface Acids
As a strong buffer for acids and alkalis, soda eliminates acidic conditions on the surface of the substrate. For conditions with high acidic levels, acid rain or boiler fly ash, blasting with soda will reduce coating failures.

Natural Rust Inhibitor
As long as baking soda is on a ferrous metal surface, rust will not form. For rust to form, free moisture and  acidic conditions must exist. In most cases, free moisture combines with carbon dioxide in the atmosphere to form carbonic acid. This acid releases a free metal (ferrous) ion which combines with oxygen (oxidizes) to form rust. Soda buffers acids and prevents the release of free metal ions and prevents rust.

Reduces Solid Waste

Soda blast media can be dissolved in fresh water. By dissolving the media and filtering out the contaminants the solution can generally be discharged to P.O.T.W. treatment systems or open waterways, with proper discharge permits. Waste volume is generally reduced to less than 5% of the original waste volume. With increasing landfill costs and liabilities, this advantage becomes more important everyday.

No Re-Profiling of Metals
Standard grades of soda media (without any hard aggregates) do not profile steel. When an operator removes a coating from a metal surface, he or she exposes the existing anchor pattern under the coating. Unless corrosion has occurred, there is no reason to re-profile the surface.

No Pre-Cleaning
For projects where the coating is covered with grease, carbon, salt or other contaminants, the more traditional blasting methods require the coating to be fully cleaned before blasting. This is required so that the contaminants on the surface of the coating not be driven through the coating and into the surface of the substrate, causing future coating failure.

Unique Cutting Action

Soda blast media offers the unique properties of sodium bicarbonate, the primary ingredient. The softness (Mohs Hardness Scale =2.4) and friable nature of this crystal produces a unique cutting action with little or no effect on most substrates. For example, thick coatings can be removed from glass without any etching effect. With proper care, delicate substrates can be cleaned without damage.

Cleaning & Stripping
Standard abrasive blasting is a dirty process, often loading and even embedding the surface with contaminants (grease, oil, tar and abrasive particles) in the process of removing the coating.  Recycled abrasives compound this problem by loading increasing amounts of contaminants into the substrate.  Baking Soda Blast Media effectively strips and cleans the substrate in one step, producing a level of surface cleanliness not seen with most processes.  The media is not reusable, thus eliminating the issue of blasting with recycled media.

Professional Soda and Media Blasting by Blast Masters
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