Abrasive blasting is the projection at a surface of a suspended particulate in a pressurized air or water stream for the purpose of removing a coating or contaminant, or other alteration of that surface in some way.
One of the most important differences between abrasive blasting with sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) versus abrasive blasting with any other abrasive medias are that baking soda’s attributes allow it to remove contaminants without damaging the underlying substrate.
Sodium bicarbonate is the ideal abrasive blasting media for the removal of oil and grease.
ARMEX is a baking soda based (sodium bicarbonate, NaHCO3) media manufactured by the makers of ARM & HAMMER™ Products for use as an abrasive in cleaning or removing coatings without alteration of the base material. There are 11 formulations sold by a network of distributor worldwide.
ARMEX Standard, Premium and Specialty formulas are effective for cleaning precision components, engine rebuild applications, delicate substrates and composite materials, architecture and masonry, processing and manufacturing equipment.
The Profile Formulas are effective when rust, heavy paint or tenacious contamination removal, or profiling is required and substrate preservation is not a concern.
No. While all baking soda is chemically the same (NAHCO3) only ARMEX is formulated for use as a blast media and only ARMEX is manufactured by ARM & HAMMER™. Formulations contain uniform particle sizes from 70-270 microns, and ingredients for flowability and rinsabilty. The profile formulas are uniquely blended for more aggressive removal applications.
No. You cannot recycle ARMEX. It is considered a one-pass media. Unlike other abrasives ARMEX is extremely friable meaning that it fractures into much smaller particles upon impact. This not only results in a more intense cleaning action and softens the impact on substrates, but also transforms the particle to a fine dust no longer suitable for coatings removal.
Using ARMEX with the right equipment maximizes cleaning efficiencies and minimizes media use, often providing greater productivity because concern for surface damage even at high pressures is minimal. For this reason users have found the ARMEX process to be either more, or as cost effective as other abrasive processes.
In contrast, higher priced recyclable abrasives like plastic or glass bead, will degenerate at blast pressures over 45 psi reducing their recyclability, though their cost remains much higher. Increasing blast pressure with these media therefore not only increase cost but also increases the risk for surface damage
In air driven applications ARMEX can be used dry or wet. When used wet with water as a dust suppressant dust will generally fall within 10ft of the work piece. When used dry, in a portable application, containment for migrating dust may be required or other mitigating measures such as negative air chambers or air scrubbers can be used. In process production or remanufacturing applications glove box units, or fully contained cabinet systems, blast rooms or partial enclosures are available. See “What if I already have a blaster or cabinet?”
Yes. There are media injection devices available to introduce ARMEX into the water stream of your pressure washer, operating at 3,000 psi or above. These attachments are available through the authorized ARMEX distributor network. Most pressure washer applications are appropriate for cleaning only or light coatings removal like “tagging.”
Yes. All blasting operations require safety precautions for the worker and environment. You must take into account not only the abrasive being used but also the coating being removed and the environment in which you are operating. The coating content may dictate additional containment, waste disposal and worker safety requirements. ARMEX however simplifies all concerns because it has a 0 HMIS rating and therefore adds no hazards to a project. Personal Protection Equipment is essential for operators, during any blasting operations and care should be taken for protection of the surrounding area with regards to people, and the environment.
Nozzle selection is very important in determining production results. Nozzle size and type determine the volume of air needed and the size of the air compressor required to achieve the desired blast pressure. An inadequate air supply can greatly reduce performance, production rates and cost efficiencies. Some suggested nozzles to use with ARMEX are as follows:
ARMEX is widely used among industrial and specialty cleaning contractors. ARMEX distributors are closely associated with these contractors and can often recommend one in your area for your application. For a sales representative in your area, click here.
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.