Will Your Water Source Impact the Wet Blasting Process?
Updated: Feb 22, 2022
When it comes to wet blasting, you may wonder, does your water source impact the process?
Some abrasive blasting shops are connected to city tap water. Others use well or spring water. The biggest concern that many people have is if chemicals in tap water or the minerals in well water may impact the blasting process, diminishing the results achieved.
To help set your concerns to rest, the water source won’t make much of a difference in most cases.
There is sometimes an “edge case” when the water source and the abrasive being used will interact so that the water’s pH is altered. This is discussed more below.
Understanding Water’s pH Level
Whether it comes from a natural spring, out of a tap, or from a well, most water will have a pH of around seven. When the pH of water is seven, it means it is neutral.
If the pH of water falls under seven, it is considered acidic, and if it is over seven, the water is considered basic. Acidic water has more hydrogen atoms, and basic water has less than neutral water.
How to Tell if Your Water Is Too Basic or Acidic
If you plan to wet blast chrome, stainless steel, steel parts, or aluminum, and the finished part appears discolored when the process is complete, there may be a pH issue with the water.
In most cases, you will notice a slight brownish or purplish tinge if this is the problem.
In most cases, this pH imbalance isn’t caused by your water source. In virtually every situation, it results from the abrasive and water experiencing a chemical reaction that alters the pH. How and where the abrasive is manufactured is typically the cause of this reaction.
However, this is very rare. While it is rare if it does happen, knowing how to resolve it is important.
Testing Your Water’s pH and Changing the pH Balance
You should use a pool pH testing kit to figure out if the water and abrasive mix has resulted in a pH imbalance. The right range for your water’s pH is between 7.1 and 7.2.
If your water is acidic, you can use sodium bicarbonate to restore it to a neutral balance. It’s also possible to use water treatment products at your pool supply store to adjust the alkalinity or acidity to reach the proper level.
If you plan to use the pool water treatment products, just use a small amount to test with a testing strip. A little of these chemicals will go a long way.
The Bottom Line
As mentioned above, most water sources, whether well water or city water, will be fine for wet blasting. However, if you do experience issues, it is probably due to a chemical reaction that occurs between your water and the abrasive being used. To fix this issue, you can adjust the pH of your water.