Blasting at Different Pressures using Ceramic, Glass or Steel Shot

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It is well known that blasting with a spherical bead or shot prevents fatigue and stress corrosion failures, and prolongs product life for the part. This process is called shot peening were small spherical shot bombards the surface of the part to be finished. The process of shot peening is applied to critical parts such as jet engines were the stresses can be critical to reliability.

The measurement of stress relief is measured using an Almen Gage, were a metal strip is attached to a sample component and when blasted with the shot the strip deforms/curves. This curvature is measured to establish the degree of shot peening. Part of the process is establishing the blast pressure to achieve the shot peening specification. The shot peening process can also be a cosmetic process were different pressures achieve different results.

Blasting pressure can be changed for many different reasons. If you want to blast parts slowly or quickly, or if you are blasting harder or softer components, the blast pressure can be altered to compensate for these variable factors. This can also be changed depending on what finish you are looking to achieve. For example, if you blasted using Ceramic media at 20psi, then you would clean the part and it would have a slight shine and aesthetic finish, but it would have an original patina to it. If you then blasted the same component at 80psi, the part would come out very shiny, shinier than what it would have been originally.


Vixen possesses the capability to process parts and samples for their customers at their on-site show room laboratory. Recently, one of their highly trained sales engineers blasted a variety of parts in the process centre; he used the Vixen Aquablast with ceramic media, changing the pressure to produce different results. All of the components that were processed were manufactured from different materials ranging from magnesium, brass alloy and steel.

The following parts were processed:

Cog – Steel 


Sonar – Brass, Silicon and aluminium/Brass Alloy 



Bracket – Cast – Aluminium 



Engine Part - Cast Magnesium 



Race Car Bracket – 2024 Grade Aluminium 

Ceramic media is made up of small microscopic balls that create the same effect as a peen hammer on the surface of metal, when used in a blasting machine at a very high pressure. Ceramic will create a highly polished bright surface finish when used at a high pressure and is strong enough to create a shot peen effect on the surface depending on the pressure and spherical size. This creates a compressive strain which in turn creates a 1000 times stronger surface leaving the part shiny. After the blasting process the part when put under a microscope would have tiny indentations on the metal. As you can see in the images all of the parts have a pristine finish.

The Aquablast range is designed to simultaneously wash and degrease a variety of components in a quick and easy dust free process. This wetblasting range offers huge benefits to a wide variety of industry sectors including aerospace, automotive, construction and specialist manufacturing.  One of the main advantages of this process is it cleans by flow and not impact, promotes longer media life and is a dust free process.

The pressure on the Aquablast machine is variable and adjusted on the leg of the machine. Typically blast pressure would be between 20- 70 psi, ensuring no matter what metal you want to process you will be able to achieve the desired finish using the Aquablast machine. Another advantage of the wet blasting process is it won’t damage the integrity of the part like other methods such as dry blasting. Vapor blasting also stops media impregnation as the water acts as a cushioning effect.

The Aquablast range is made up of standard cabinets but Vixen also possess the technical capacity and expertise to manufacture bespoke machinery, specifically tailored to meet client specifications. At the quote stage all quotes are sent out with a CAD drawing so you can plan your floorspace accordingly which is produced by Vixens in house design team.


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