Faqs

We’ve complied a list of the commonly asked questions and we hope we’ve managed to cover them all, but if not, please do not hesitate to contact us and one of our experts will be only too happy to help… that’s what we do

So how does soda blast work?

  • Soda Blasting is a non-destructive, environmentally friendly, chemical free, cleaning process using specially formulated granules of bicarbonate soda and controlled amounts of compressed air.
  • Blasting soda is an extremely friable material which micro fragments upon impact, literally taking away surface materials from the substrate without causing damage to the host material.
  • Soda particles fracture into smaller particles on impact thus providing a thorough cleaning action while softening the impact on the substrate.
  • Soda Blasting is unlike other blasting methods for example, acid dips, shot blasting or other forms of abrasive blasting which can seriously damage your substrate
  • We use our own exclusive blend of eco friendly blast media compounds that have been especially designed and developed to deliver outstanding finishes on almost any surface, wet or dry even at low pressure
  • The media is in the measured scale range from 7.0 in hardness, down to as low as just 2.4 for soda (similar to talcum powder)
  • We operate on blast pressures from as low as 0.5 bar allowing for precise metering of the cleaning media.
  • We use a self contained mobile system that includes a blast generator, high pressure compressed air, and moisture decontamination system, remote control blast head system which is capable of handling dry or wet blasting material.

Is soda the best abrasive to use?

  • Soda is a soluble soft abrasive used for non-destructive blast cleaning and is excellent for many applications such as building cleaning & graffiti removal, stone & masonry cleaning, historic monuments, food industry machinery, refurbishment, fire damage, aviation & engineering components, coatings removal from delicate substrates even plastics.
  • Soda blasting works by removing contaminants combined energy release, which results in no damage to underlying substrates. Using sand, shot or grit as an abrasive is likely to cause damage to the surface. Sand Blasting is now an illegal process for use externally.
  • There is no heat build up when blasting with sodium bicarbonate therefore, warping is eliminated.
  • Sand blasted ferrous metals require immediate coating to prevent rusting. By contrast, soda blasting will significantly reduce the rate of rusting and can be coated several days, even weeks after blasting rather than hours.
  • Despite its highly effective cleaning properties soda has a hardness that is just above talcum powder. For objects or surfaces that may be considered ‘delicate’, our operators can control the process by pressure and media mix as required.
  • In some applications the use of a very fine specialist blend of abrasives is used to achieve the desired result, this is particularly the case for cleaning sandstone or for paint stripping.
  • In some manufacturing processes it is necessary to create a specific surface profile.

Is soda blasting environmentally safe?

  • Yes, soda itself has no impact on the environment and is completely safe. However, just as a precaution it is recommended that if contact is made with plants and vegetation, its best to wash all areas down with water after the cleaning process as soda contains alkaline properties.

Why use bicarbonate of soda?

  • The particles are angular therefore when delivered under relatively low pressure but at high velocity will scour virtually any coating from any substrate without harming it.
  • Soda particles fracture into smaller particles on impact thus providing a thorough cleaning action while softening the impact on the substrate.
  • Bicarbonate of soda has a benign pH of 8.2 – therefore safe for the environment before, during, and after use.

Can anything be cleaned with the soda blaster?

  • Yes, just about! Because of the very nature of bicarbonate of soda and its natural properties combined with the technical specification of the blaster, which allows for soft or heavy penetration, it makes it safe for almost any surface.
  • Our System has been used on some of the most some of the most prestigious historical buildings in the UK, working in association with Cadw the Welsh Heritage Trust, Landmark, Carillion, Opus, Willmott Dixon, Savills name a few. It has been used on castles, historical monuments, listed buildings sandstone, bath stone, antique furniture, boats, vintage cars etc.
  • When used with a little water the Soda-Blaster makes easy work of graffiti removal, on wood, brick, sandstone, marble and other sensitive surfaces.
  • Soda blasting is the most cost effective way to de-rust, de-carbonise and degrease – removing all unwanted residues and coating. It is food safe and silica free.

Are your systems safe?

  • All of our blasting equipment is manufactured in Europe and conforms to the “European Pressure Equipment Directive” (PED). This is a legal requirement for blast equipment supplied in the UK and is confirmed on the Certificate of Conformity supplied with every blast machine. All our operators are professionally trained at the Academy.
  • We operate with blast pressures from as low as 0.5 bar using a combined range of nozzles including our own New Vortex II Spin Head Nozzle which allows for greater accuracy for very sensitive services.

Does soda blasting cause a mess?

  • All blasting methods cause dust, and debris due to the very nature of the process. Because of the controlled media and low blast ability the APT Soda Blast System creates less dust and debris than other methods as it disintegrates on impact. We use a specialised tenting system where possible to contain the dust, so there is very little impact. If required and where possible wet blasting can be used which eliminates dust completely.
  • Sodium Bicarbonate has a pH of 8.2 and can be disposed of in most waste water treatment systems as normal waste.
  • We use dust extraction units where possible to reduce and remove dust build up.

Why use Sodablasting for cleaning & restoring exterior buildings?

  • It can be used on a multitude of surfaces and will not harm the substrate.
  • Mortar Staining – Potential attractive brick or stone work can be spoiled by poor quality smeared pointing or accidentally damaged pointing. In either case soda blasting will remove the residue to reveal the original brickwork
  • Mismatching brickwork or stonework – If considering an extension to an existing building we recommend that the original building is first cleaned to reveal the true colour of the masonry and then choose the masonry to match, that way we can easily blend and humour in the whole area together.
  • Highly effective in the removal of efflorescence which is caused by excess moisture leaving unsightly salt deposits on the surface of masonry.
  • Why is dry blasting more effective than jet washing? – Jet washing drives water into the surface and crevices; water residues then become trapped and cannot escape or dry off. During severe cold periods, cracking and spalling can occur to the surface, this can take a few years to show. There is huge cost attached to repairs and replacement of architectural sandstone and masonry. We recommend the use of dry blasting on all masonry and mortar joints.

Can ordinary baking soda be used?

  • No! – Whilst all baking soda is chemically the same, the particles used in soda blasting have been specifically formulated and graded for abrasive cleaning.
  • These unique formulations contain uniform particle sizes from 70-270 microns and contain flow aids and moisture inhibitors not present in ordinary soda, this makes it far superior than just ordinary soda when used for blasting.
  • The profile formulas are uniquely blended for more aggressive removal applications. Soda that is suitable for blasting will be labeled “blast media” on the bag.

Other questions

  • Due to very nature of the process our preparation time is minimal thus reducing costs for our clients
  • When cleaning machinery parts; they should be as grease free as possible, as large amounts of grease or oil slow down the cleaning process.
  • Where necessary, our special environmentally friendly chemical products can be applied to safely and quickly remove heavy greases contaminants before soda blasting commences.
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