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Brandon Acker / 02.27.2024

Can I Use Sand with my Titan Blast Machine?

road after a sandstorm
Road after a sandstorm; image by Jay Calvin, Unsplash

Legend has it that Benjamin Tilghman, inventor of the sandblasting process, saw the effect of wind-blown sand on windows in the desert while a general in the army. The presumably scratched windows became the basis of his sandblasting invention.

The use of sand as a blast media has been around since the late 1800s and is the contributing factor to the process being called “sandblasting.” Sand was used predominantly for many decades, leaving many people unknowingly exposed to its health risks.

Use of silica sand as a blast media: Not recommended by OSHA

When workers inhale the crystalline silica used in abrasive blasting, the lung tissue reacts by developing fibrotic nodules and scarring around the trapped silica particles [Silicosis and Silicate Disease Committee 1988]. This fibrotic condition of the lung is called silicosis.

Due to the health risk, the use of silica sand as a blasting media is banned in many countries – except the United States. Although not banned, in 2016 OSHA HIGHLY recommended that silica sand be prohibited as an abrasive blasting material. To further enforce this recommendation, OSHA released a “Final Rule to Protect Workers from Exposure to Respirable Crystalline Silica” (March 25, 2016).

For a full discussion, see: “OSHA Issues Final Rule on Exposure to Respirable Silica Exposure,” at the OSHA Education Center.

Blast media types and their application uses

Choosing the right blast media depends on the application, material type and desired outcome, the blaster (nozzle size, pressure), and how often the media will be reclaimed. A few applications, and the media types, are listed in the chart below.

And, be sure to check out the article I wrote, Selecting Blast Media, Aerospace Manufacturing and Design, for in-depth information about abrasive media types.

While Titan doesn’t sell abrasive media, we do work with several suppliers. We can recommend abrasive media for your blast room / blast machine configuration and application type or introduce you to one of our suppliers.

Use our Contact Page or email us with any questions.

Removing Rust or PaintPolishing, Peening, CleaningWood, Glass, PlasticSteel; heavy-duty jobs
Aluminum OxideYesYes
Glass BeadsYes
Steel ShotYesYes
Steel GritYesYes
Walnut ShellsYes
Abrasive media x application type

  • Brandon Acker: President

    Brandon purchased Titan Abrasive from his uncle and founder in 2013. Titan has since redesigned its entire product line to solve dozens of industry challenges.

    Learn more

    Brandon purchased Titan Abrasive from his uncle and Titan founder, Bruce Maurer, in 2013 after spending five years learning the ins and outs of the business. He and VP of Engineering Brian Fox have completely redesigned the entire product line to solve the dozens of challenges that have plagued the blasting industry for decades.

    Brandon is passionate about American manufacturing, the jobs it creates, the quality produced, and the bright future that lies ahead. He’s a frequent guest on manufacturing podcasts where he shares his deep industry expertise. Brandon holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Arizona State University.