What is Sodablasting?

Sodablasting uses sodium bicarbonate.

Sodablasting is a method of removing unwanted layers from a surface without damaging the surface itself. This process uses baking soda, the same chemical that makes up baking soda, and spreads it through a hose using compressed air. Sodablasting will remove layers of dirt, paint or oil from a surface. The process is very easy on hard surfaces because baking soda is much softer than metal and masonry. It is also safe to use in food preparation areas and near people as the chemical is essentially non-toxic.

The main use for sodablasting is to remove dirt and paint from a surface. Abrasive particles will impact the site and remove unwanted materials. As a result of baking soda’s chemical structure, it works equally well with hard contaminants like rust, or soft contaminants like oil. Also, the material is only toxic in very high doses, so it works well for cleaning high-traffic kitchens like hospitals and schools. This means that the same system can work in many different areas without modification.

The secret to sodablasting is in the baking soda itself. The chemical is very friable, meaning it breaks down with very little force applied. This causes the particles to impact a surface and explode outward with great force. This force is applied to the entire impact site, so while some of it is directed towards the surface, most of it is not.

Smaller repelled particles push unwanted material away from the impact site. The impact of a single part of baking soda is very small, but when hundreds of thousands hit them all at once, the effect is much greater. Since most of the force is applied perpendicular to the impact site, the underlying surface is not damaged.

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All equipment used for pressure cleaning is very similar, but the tools used for sodablasting are a little different from most. The system consists of a compressor, an air tank, a bowl containing sodium bicarbonate, a hose and a nozzle. The user often straps the equipment to his back or uses a wheeled floor model. The main difference lies in the internal workings of the equipment.

In most cases, pressure cleaning works by injecting an abrasive material into an active pressurized air stream. Sodablasting is just the opposite; the air pushes the baking soda directly. This moves more material in less time, but it only works as a result of the materials’ high friability. If a sandblasting system worked the same way, the hose would often clog and the low friability sand would damage surfaces before the user could stop it.

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