Glass microspheres

Blasting and shot blasting abrasives

Coniex supplies a wide range of glass beads for blasting and shot blasting processes of parts and other surfaces. It is an abrasive with a wide range of applications that offers great efficiency in all aspects: quality of the final result, cost savings and zero waste generation.

Glass beads are an ideal abrasive when we must act on parts or surfaces that we must not alter, as they have precise tolerances. Its use is also very common for surface treatment and finishing of stainless steel, aluminum and non-ferrous alloys, since they do not produce ferrous contamination.

They offer high efficiency, quality and cost-effective results in various processes for the finishing of parts, such as cleaning, surface preparation, or shot peening. Most of these processes are carried out by compressed air spraying and the result is a clean surface with a perfect finish, ready for further treatment, if necessary.

Glass beads are an economical and environmentally friendly abrasive compared to other chemical processes, as they are recovered and re-sprayed with an average loss consumption of only 3% per cycle, generating a very low level of non-polluting waste.

Glass beads for blasting are regular shaped, non-porous and do not contain any toxic components.

A typical analysis is as follows (%)

SiO2 Nao2 CaO MgO Al2O3 Fe2O3 K2O
72,5 13.7 9.8 3.3 0.4 0.2 0.1

A typical analysis is as follows (%)

Hardness Specific gravity
6 mohs/48-50 Hrc 2.4-2.5 g/cm3.

A typical analysis is as follows (%)

1-45 45-90 53-106 75-150 106-212
150-250 180-300 250-425 425-850

The glass microspheres supplied by Coniex offer a wide range of advantages:

  • They are consumed at a slow rate and can be continuously recycled, making them environmentally efficient.
  • It does not contaminate the metal being treated, as it is inert and chemically pure, making it clean and safe for the environment.
  • Causes less damage to the surface of the parts than traditional sandblasting.
  • This fast cleaning system does not remove the surface layer of metals and preserves critical thicknesses in delicate parts and areas.
  • Uniform particle size. Uniform grain size is the first step in ensuring consistent and repeatable process results.
  • Uniform particle density. Solid glass microspheres ensure consistent results and low consumption rates.
  • High degree of roundness. Spherical particles ensure negligible base metal removal, thus preserving critical tolerances of precision components
  • Low and medium intensity blasting jobs can be achieved.
  • It has a COSHH assessed low risk rating.

Some typical applications for glass microspheres are:

  • Blasting of turbine blades, gears, shafts, cutting tools and other precision parts to reduce size and increase resistance to fatigue, stress corrosion and cracking.
  • Protection of welded structures, pipelines and joints from stress corrosion and hydrogen embrittlement.
  • Increase the lubricity level of machinery parts such as piston heads and camshafts.
  • Reduce fatigue, stress corrosion and surface cracking.
  • Treatment for surface hardening of parts subjected to heavy mechanical stresses. Some examples of this application are vehicle exterior panels, propellers and hulls.
  • Elimination of residual surface stresses caused by machining processes.
  • Cleaning and reconditioning requiring gentle treatment.
  • Dry and wet spraying of molds, engine parts.
  • Post-heat treatment cleaning of electrical contactors.
  • Correction of defects
  • Wall cleaning, graffiti removal, etc.

Selection of the most suitable abrasive and microsphere

The engineering of impact finishing processes is based on the proper balance of several variables, including:

  • Nozzle diameter
  • The distance from the work surface
  • The angle of application
  • Working pressure
  • Surface coverage (time)

The abrasive used also determines the success of the surface treatment, so it is essential to strictly control aspects such as the size, shape and quality of the glass beads themselves, which must meet the specifications indicated by the customer.

Choosing the most suitable glass microsphere for your application will allow you to obtain great results and significant cost savings.

Glass bead impact blasting increases the life of metal parts by inhibiting fatigue and stress cracks. The hammering action of the glass microspheres changes the internal tensile stresses to a uniform surface layer of compressive stress. This new “skin” created by the peening action reduces the tendency of the treated surface to develop stress cracks and stress corrosion cracking.

The use of precision glass microspheres, together with appropriate process controls, ensures that the parts meet the established quality and design requirements. In addition, a good blasting process allows engineers to design smaller and lighter components, which offer equal performance to heavier and less efficient unprocessed parts.

Consult with our specialist blasting and shot blasting consultants for detailed information on the most suitable glass bead for your process needs, as well as the most cost-effective and efficient equipment for your application.

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