How Does Soda Blasting Work?

Written by derek odom
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Soda blasting is a process in which compressed air is used to propel tiny bits of sodium bicarbonate onto an object, stripping it of paint, rust, grease and grime. The difference between sand blasting and soda blasting is that soda blasting uses sodium bicarbonate instead of actual sand or glass. Soda blasting is a quick and easy way to strip vehicles or trailers down to bare metal in preparation for paint.

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Why Soda Blasting?

Traditionally, one was forced to sand and sand an object by hand if the desired result was paint or rust removal. Likewise, several cleaning solvents would have to be implemented to clean greasy parts such as engine blocks or crankshafts to prep them for installation. The same jobs can be done literally in seconds by implementing soda blasting. Of course, the process is not limited to the automotive world. Bikes, crafts and furniture--virtually anything that needs its topcoat removed can be soda blasted safely and quickly.

Process

Soda blasting uses tiny pieces of sodium bicarbonate (very similar to baking soda) shot out of a hose using compressed air. Adjusting the pressure of the air compressor, and mixing water in with the process, can control the speed of the soda exiting the hose. The idea is that for wood surfaces or very thin metals, you would want the soda to flow slower. For thick, robust surfaces such as engine blocks or steel frames, a high-speed blast will not result in any damage to the object.

Benefits

Soda blasting has quite a few benefits over using the classic sandblasting method. First off, instead of simply peeling the topcoat of the object off through brute force, soda actually releases energy as it hits the object, which breaks up the paint, grease or rust. Therefore, there is no pitting or other damage with soda blasting. Soda blasting creates much less heat than sand or glass blasting, which eliminates the risk of the object warping. Sand blasting can warp sheet metal or aluminium pretty easily, but soda blasting will not. Sand-blasted metal surfaces will begin to rust very quickly, but a soda-blasted object ends up with a protective coating that will allow the application of paint to wait a while, if necessary. A fourth benefit is that sodium bicarbonate is water-soluble, and therefore extremely easy to dispose of.

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