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What is an Abrasive Cleaner?

Abrasives are an indispensable tool for many industries and crafts. Whether you are polishing, cleaning, or preparing surfaces, using an abrasive can greatly improve the quality and efficiency of the work.

In this article, our abrasive blasting team will walk you through everything you need to know about abrasives. We’ll start with a clear definition of what abrasives are and their different types. Then we’ll explore how they can be used in an industrial setting and the benefits of choosing to use them.

Abrasives : a definition

An abrasive is a material used to polish, clean or prepare a surface. It consists of very fine particles that are rubbed against a surface to scrape and scour it until it is smooth and clean. Abrasives can be made from different materials, including silicon carbide, aluminum oxide, corundum, diamond, and more.

Abrasives remove imperfections, scratches, stains or deposits from a surface. They are widely used in industry to treat metals, plastics, composites and ceramics. In the craft industry, abrasives are used for sculpting and engraving, and to create jewelry.

It is important to choose the right abrasive for the surface to be treated and the desired result. Using an abrasive cleaner incorrectly can lead to damage or a poor-quality result, two good reasons to rely on the services of an industrial cleaning company.

Can abrasives be dangerous?

Abrasives can be dangerous if used incorrectly or under the wrong conditions. It is important to know the characteristics of the product you are using and how to protect yourself.

There are many potential risks while using abrasive materials, primarily:

  • Bodily injury: If an abrasive explodes and you are not wearing protection, you could suffer 2nd or 3rd degree burns.
  • Inhalation of toxic smoke and dust: Abrasive media contain airborne particles, some of which are toxic. Wear a safety mask to avoid exposing your lungs to dangerous particles.
  • Vision or hearing problems: Wearhearing protection equipment and safety glasses or a helmet with a visor to protect yourself from “flying” particles.

The best way to ensure a safe process is to trust specialists who respect safety standards, protect themselves and the environment, and use appropriate abrasives for the job. Trexo has specialized in using abrasive cleaners for over 20 years!

Classification of abrasive materials

Abrasive materials are classified according to the hardness of their raw materials (measured on a scale, most commonly the Mohs Hardness Scale), as well as their brittleness (or friability) and toughness:

  • Hardness refers to the resistance of one material to the pressure of another.
  • Friability describes the ease with which a material can produce new forms when its mineral product breaks down.
  • Toughness indicates the amount of energy a material can withstand before breaking.

Each of these variables affects the final result: choosing the right abrasive is crucial, which is why using abrasives is a task for professionals.

Abrasives: uses and applications

Abrasives are used in many industries to treat and prepare the surfaces of a variety of materials including metal, wood, plastic, ceramic and glass. They can be used for finishing, polishing, grinding, rust removal, paint removal, stripping, and much more.

Let’s look at a few specific applications for abrasives according to industry.

  • In the automotive industry, abrasives are used to polish car body surfaces and remove stains and scratches. Abrasives are also used to prepare surfaces or remove existing paint layers before applying industrial paint.
  • In the aircraft industry, abrasive materials are used to polish turbine blades and to clean components before assembly. They can also be used to remove imperfections on engine parts and to treat piping surfaces.
  • In the marine industry, abrasives are used to remove stains and corrosion from ship hulls, and to prepare surfaces or remove existing layers of paint prior to painting.
  • In the construction industry, abrasive media are used to polish concrete slabs, remove burrs and imperfections from pipes, and to prepare surfaces or remove existing layers of paint prior to painting.
  • In the craft industry, abrasives are used to carve stone, wood and composite materials, and to engrave and polish precious metals such as gold and silver.

What about industrial cleaning companies?

Abrasive cleaners are commonly used by industrial cleaning professionals in a process that involves spraying a high-pressure jet onto the surface being treated.

Materials commonly used in abrasive cleaners include glass beads, steel shot and nutshells. Air pressure of up to 100 PSI can loosen contaminants or remove imperfections from industrial equipment such as ultrasonic cleaners. This is a powerful method, and using the wrong kind of abrasive cleaner can easily damage the surface instead of cleaning it – it is always a good idea to leave abrasive cleaning work to the specialists.

What are the different types of abrasive materials?

Abrasives can be classified according to whether they are natural or synthetic:

  • Natural Abrasives: Many of these are minerals, including the widely used quartz and diamond. Quartz in particular ranks 7/10 on the Mohs scale and is used in many types of sandpaper, for example.
  • Synthetic Abrasives: These are created via industrial chemical processes, which involve heating the materials to over 2000 degrees. Synthetic abrasives include high quality materials such as silicon carbide and aluminum oxide, as well as the widely used synthetic diamond.

In addition, there is third category known as bonded abrasives. These are made by bonding abrasive particles with a resin or other bonding material, and are often used in polishing and precision grinding.

What are the advantages of using abrasives?

Using an abrasive medium to do surface finishing can produce a remarkably uniform and smooth surface. Abrasives make it possible to remove small amounts of material from a surface in a precise and controlled manner, resulting in a high-quality finish.

Abrasives can also remove large amounts of material quickly, a real advantage when grinding and cutting hard materials. Using an abrasive also saves time and reduces production costs, especially when it comes to avoiding the expense of replacing damaged parts.

By removing surface layers, abrasives can remove imperfections, scratches and damaged areas, increasing the strength and longevity of a surface. For example, using an abrasive to remove layers of paint and rust from a metal surface will make a fresh layer of paint adhere correctly and prevent premature corrosion.

Finally, abrasive cleaners are often more environmentally friendly than other cleaning methods. Abrasives are usually made from natural materials and can be reused several times, reducing waste.

Need to clean your facilities? Trust Trexo!

Abrasives are an indispensable surface treatment tool in many industries. They offer several advantages over other processing methods: a smooth, uniform finish, efficiency, increased surface longevity and less waste. Different types of abrasives can meet a wide range of tasks and needs.

If you are looking for an industrial cleaning expert that uses abrasives for quality surface treatment, our company is ready for action. Since 1987, we have been helping Quebec businesses maintain functional and productive industrial facilities. We are fully equipped and work with effective, non-hazardous and environmentally friendly cleaning methods.

Contact us if you need to clean your equipment, or to learn more about our cleaning techniques.