Choosing an aluminum oxide blasting grit for galvanizing removal

Not all aluminum oxide blasting is created equal. A lot of people automatically turn to  aluminum oxide blasting for the removal of galvanizing without knowing the differences between the different aluminum oxide blasting processes and media sizes that can be used.

What is Galvanizing?

Galvanizing is the process of coating steel with zinc to prevent rusting. The process is called galvanizing because it uses electric currents to produce zinc, which is named after the scientist Luigi Galvani. Galvanizing is also referred to as zinc coating, hot-dip galvanizing, or electrogalvanizing. Galvanizing is especially useful for steel materials in corrosive environments, such as saltwater or underground.

The Best Abrasive Media for Removing Galvanizing

When you’re looking to remove galvanizing from your material, there are a few different media types that work best. Here we’ll look at the best abrasive media. How exactly do you know which media type to choose? The first thing we need to look at is what we’re removing and why. If we’re removing galvanizing because we’re painting, we want a media that will leave minimal scratches and marks on the surface of the steel such as aluminum oxide or glass beads. If we’re removing galvanizing simply because it’s old and we need to expose the steel, then we can use a more aggressive media such as garnet. 

Aluminum oxide is one of the stronger forms of blast media and is therefore commonly used on a large number of projects. It is important to note that if you are choosing aluminum oxide to remove paint, it is always best to use a finer grit—larger grit may result in damage or scratches to your base material. 

When looking at a blast media for removing galvanized, most people use either aluminum oxide or glass beads due to their general strength and effectiveness. However, new superoxalloy abrasives from 10X (discussed below) offer several advantages over other blast media. Aluminum oxide particles are sharp and angular, making them compatible with only a limited number of jobs. Superoxalloy on the other hand is composed of both angular and rounded particles to name a few, which means it could be used for a variety of purposes. 

A job that would usually require three steps with aluminum oxide can now be done in one with superoxalloy which is also safer for both you and the environment, with no free silica, no crystalline structures, no heavy metals, and no beryllium. They also resist breakage and can also be reused many times, and are virtually dust-free. 

Currently, KinetiX and EpiX are available from abrasive distributors around the US. If you don’t see a distributor near you, contact 10X and we will work with you to get you what you need. EpiX abrasive, which is best for precision applications such as powder coating and medical applications, is also available to purchase directly from the 10X Engineered Materials website.