Copper Slag Is a Good Alternative to Coal Slag
Around the world, the metal refining process produces tons of alloys that are used in the construction industry to produce byproducts, avoiding that mixtures go to waste. One of those byproducts is slag, an industrial mixture of silicon dioxide and metal oxides used to produce slag abrasives that range from medium grade to military specification grade. Black Beauty products are some of the most used abrasives for maintenance blasting, surface cleaning and for general purpose repairs; although “black beauty” is also a term used in construction in reference to any black slag abrasive regardless the brand label.
Coal slag abrasives have been using for years in rust removal and light paint, but the quality of copper slag is quickly gaining popularity for cleaning surfaces that require a sleek finish, although it can be also used with advantages in concrete and stone surfaces for blast cleaning and mill scale removal. Although, Black Beauty abrasive products such as Black Diamond sand are often used to remove rust from steel a flaky or very deteriorated surface, copper slag is more suitable for this cleaning process than slag coal. Copper slag is a byproduct resulting from smelting iron silicates, which results in a more refined abrasive product.
Sometimes abrasive sand blasting media is used to substitute black beauty slag in applications for new structural steel or special maintenance blasting, paint and rust removal and repair, copper slag works as an extra fine grade product that cleans most surfaces with low dusting and in with the industry standards when it comes to choosing a low free silica product. Aggregate exposure of coal slag sometimes reduce the blending capabilities of the product when fine tuning blasting is the goal in a cleaning process, so anyone using a black beauty abrasive may require two different products to obtain the finest finish, a thing that does not occur when copper slag is used instead.
Black beauty sand is better to obtain fine rust removal, but even then, the quality of a copper slag abrasive will always produce finer results with less effort. Along with this, copper slag will meet environmental standards and industry abrasives specifications Another advantage of copper slag is that it can be used to replace sand when working in concrete constructions, because it is a better binding agent than sand, keeping concrete gravel particles together while improving the properties of this material. Copper slag has little impact on the environment, thus it is often considered a first choice when recycling is part of the blasting tasks. The reason being it is free of the health hazards that other slag products have, it can be used safely to clean many other surfaces, including works where the blasting technique involves high pressure or spraying processes to cover large surfaces.
Black Beauty Coal Slag VS Copper Slag
Often publicized as the safest material to apply in rough or dirty surfaces that need an abrasive blasting, Black Beauty products are usually the first choice for this and many other projects where sandblasting media is necessary. However, today cleaning, repairing or performing a maintenance job on such surfaces is much easier using copper slag, which is considered a great replacement for slag coal based on its superior quality.
Problem with coal slag abrasives is that it is necessary to select the grade of the material in accordance with the project in order to obtain the desired results. As an example, a medium grade coal slag is good for general purpose repairs, but to perform bridge maintenance where mill scale has to be removed, the black slag chosen has to be at least of fine grade. However, there are also extra fine grade, elite grade and military specification grade black beauty sand that serves for different purposes.
With copper slag, the risk to choose the wrong sandblasting media is reduced and although it can also be found in varied grades to meet the requirements of specific applications, for general purpose blasting, removal, repair and maintenance, all copper slag serves well. Naturally, black beauty slag is generally cheaper than copper slag, but you need to evaluate the cost of a byproduct versus the quality of the same, having copper slag as the winner when it comes to outlining a comparison chart.
Despite a black beauty abrasive with elite grade is a good option for projects that require a superior blending capability, there is no Black Diamond sand with the properties of copper slag, which is also an excellent fine agent that can bind lose particles in concrete regardless of its grade.
When it comes to slag abrasives with military grade, it is necessary that the product of your choice complies with MIL-A-22262B(SH) specification and that such product is military QPL approved, so be aware of this requirement whatever is your choice for an abrasive byproduct needing such high standard specifications.
However, most of the time you will need a standard sandblasting media, that being of good quality to do an efficient job. Thus, selecting copper slag for your project is often a wise decision, and it is not as costly as you might think. On the other hand, many professionals recommend wearing a mask to avoid possible silica in the product and using a dust collector when working with coal slag, precautions that are rarely necessary when using copper slag. Although many times safety measures are more connected to the equipment used for blasting rather than being related to the abrasive products by themselves, whether you use a full-size compressor, or a small portable blasting tank.