Two surface preparation processes that are often mistaken for one another are shot blasting and shot peening. While they share some similarities, they produce very different end results and getting them mixed up might lead to a big misunderstanding.
Here at Shirley Industrial Painters and Decorators Limited, we are shot blasting specialists, so we help you understand the difference in our latest blog below.
Essentially, shot blasting is the process of firing abrasive materials at a surface – usually metal – to clean or prepare it. There are various different abrasives that can be used to achieve different results on different materials but the main idea is to clean up a surface and help any later treatments adhere properly.
In the case of metal, most of the time the surface of metal needs to be prepared and then treated before it can be used. This treatment can be paint, powder coating, or even welding but it’s almost always required – especially if the metal is recycled.
Formerly, sandblasting was a very common variation of shot blasting, however, this has since been banned due to the dangers – for both the environment and the worker – that sand as an abrasive brings.
While the process for shot peening is comparable to shot blasting, in that both require the high rate firing of abrasive material at a surface, the end result is very different. Shot peening is designed to strengthen the surface of a metal in order to make it more effective when in use.
The shots put pressure on the metal, which causes expansion and creates a layer of compression stress that helps to protect against fatigue failure, corrosion, and cracking – which makes the metal product much more effective.
The concept comes from the peening hammer but is vastly scaled up to improve efficiency.
In reality, these two processes share many similarities and can often be used to prepare the surface of the same metal during the production process. There are some key differences that set them apart, though, which include the abrasive shots used and the fire rate, amongst other things.