When it comes to abrasive blasting many people use the common term “sandblasting,” but there are several mediums that can be used. Outlined below, we outline the main difference between soda blasting, sandblasting and glass blasting.
Let’s first break the different materials into two groups: Soft Abrasives and Hard Abrasives.
Baking soda is considered a soft abrasive. It is typically harder than the surface contaminant, but softer than the substrate. One of the most important differences between blasting with sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) - versus blasting with any other abrasive media - is that baking soda’s attributes allow it to remove contaminants without damaging the underlying substrate.
Soft abrasive blasting is excellent for cleaning materials which need to be reused. For example, remanufacturing where you don’t want to change tolerances of a part. Also, cleaning machinery on a regular basis, including food production equipment, without causing extra wear.
“Sand” - technically aluminum oxide or silicon carbide - and glass are considered hard abrasives and additional care must be used when sandblasting or glass blasting to avoid any damage to the underlying substrate.
Hard abrasive blasting is great when you’re not worried about removing substrate material. For example, if you’re refinishing a car and need to remove heavily rusted metal.
You can learn more about various sandblasting and media blasting in our resources section.