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Shot Blasting

Shot Blasting

Shot blasting is an abrasive cleaning process that helps to remove oxides and other debris from the surface of a material. 

What Is Shot Blasting?

The process of shot blasting uses spherical shot as an abrasive media which is then propelled at a high velocity at the surface to be cleaned. This process will remove the dirt, debris and other contaminants from the surface. The material that is being used as shot media combined with the surface to be cleaned will play an important factor in how effective the process is. Certain materials work best for select surfaces. This can be discussed with you based on your individual requirements. 

Shot blasting is made effective by the propulsion of this media through a high-powered machine. These machines blast the selected media at high velocity towards the surface for preparation. Many machines have the ability to adjust the selected velocity based on the shot media being used and the composition of the surface. 

Shot blasting is an ideal method of cleaning rough surfaces, such as concrete flooring, as it can get into the peaks and troughs of the surface. For smooth surfaces, this method of abrasive blasting is ideal for preparing a surface. It removes debris and lifts all dust in the process, leaving the surface ready for work. 

The typical materials that are used for shot blasting include, but are not limited to: 

  • Steel
  • Aluminium
  • Zinc
  • Copper


As shot blasting is an abrasive form of cleaning, there will be a number of surfaces which it is not appropriate for. However, there are a wide variety of surfaces that this form of cleaning is suited for. These include, but are not limited to: 

  • Concrete 
  • Carbon Steel
  • Engineering Steel
  • Stainless Steel
  • Cast Iron
  • Titanium
  • Copper
  • Certain types of ceramics

It is recommended that shot blasting is not used on rubbery or elastic surfaces as they would absorb the impact and render the process ineffective. We also advise that this process is avoided on sticky floors where the impact will also be absorbed and potentially leave the shot media stuck to the surface. 

Shot Blasting Safety 

Shot blasting as a process can be considered dangerous if not professionally undertaken. This is due to the force that the shot media is subjected to in order to make it effective. However, when completed by trained professionals the process is perfectly safe. 

To ensure its safety, there are a number of additional safety measures that are put in place when the work is being undertaken. This includes PPE, cordoned areas and safety screens. 

Shot Blasting Vs Sandblasting

As we mentioned above, shot blasting is a safer method of abrasive cleaning over sandblasting in the respect that it releases less dust into the air around the machine. However, sandblasting can be used on softer surfaces to offer a smoother finish, and can also be used to remove the like of graffiti from walls. 

The nature of the material that is used in shot blasting means that it is too hard to be used on a number of surfaces and will likely cause damage. For this reason, shot blasting is used more for surface preparation, rather than average surface cleaning.

The History Of Abrasive Blasting

The first abrasive blasting was in 1870 by Benjamin Chew Tilghman, with the idea said to have originated from observing nature's natural pattern of erosion via running water and wind-blown sand. The first abrasive material used was sand, but it was discovered that inhaling the silica particles led to silicosis. Sand was still used as an abrasive media for the next 6 decades. 

By 1893, the air processor made the industrial use of sandblasting possible and by 1904 Thomas Panghorn added compressed air to Tilghman's design which created a metal-cleaning sand blasting machine. 

In 1918 the very first sandblasting enclosure was constructed, with a window to view the blasted object with a barrier put between the workers and the dust particles to ensure they did not inhale them as easily. Exhaust fans were also incorporated during this time. 

By 1939 different abrasive media types were introduced, with many still being used today. This is where the introduction of shot blasting, rather than sandblasting, became a well-known and used abrasive cleaning method. 

The construction of high-powered abrasive blasting machines has varied, with a number of different designs being introduced each decade. In modern machines, there is an increased focus on the safety aspect of the machine where there has been an increase of shatter-resistant screens and covers that are between the machine and its operator. These are the machines that we use today.

If you would like to learn more about shot blasting in Staffordshire, you can contact our team here at D Price & sons. Our experts will be happy to discuss the process and arrange a quote for you. 

Based in Longton, Stoke on Trent, we are also the premium supplier of high-quality coal, logs and aggregates for customers across Staffordshire and the surrounding areas.

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