How to Choose the Correct Ball Valve for Sandblasting

How to Choose the Correct Ball Valve for Sandblasting

Ball valve

Figure 1: Ball valve

Using ball valves for sandblasting applications is a popular choice because of their durability and resistance to wear and tear. These ball valves handle the tough demands of the process and offer many advantages over other types of valves. This article discusses the use of ball valves for sandblasting applications and how to select the materials for ball valves based on the media used.

Table of contents

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What is sandblasting?

Sandblasting uses compressed air to blast an object with sand or other abrasive media. The process cleans or etches things by removing surface material, such as paint or rust. It is primarily designed to remove paint, rust, or other debris from a metal surface but can be used to smooth out rough edges on surfaces.Sandblasting also creates exciting textures on glass or stone.

Sandblasting process

Figure 2: Sandblasting process

The sandblasting process

In sandblasting, high-speed sand cleans or removes paint from a surface. A typical sandblasting machine has different components, including:

  • The blast pot: Acts as a reservoir for media and maintains the needed pressure to sustain blasting.
  • Media: Includes crushed glass, mineral sands, nutshells, plastic, etc. Selecting the right media is essential to achieving desirable results.
  • Valves: Ball valves moderate the inflow and outflow of air or liquid and determine whether or not the pot is pressurized.
  • Hoses: Maintain pressure and carries both air and media to the nozzle
  • Nozzle: Comes in different varieties for different applications. They allow for media discharge at different velocities and varying degrees of spread,

Once the abrasive is added, a series of events happen before the blasting begins. First, pressurized air or liquid goes through the inlet valve into the blast pot, which contains the abrasive (sand). This compresses the sand and then propels it through the hose and out of the nozzle.

Sandblasting equipment

Figure 3: Sandblasting equipment

Types of sandblasting

Sandblasting is an effective way to clean or prepare surfaces for painting. It can also remove paint, rust, or other buildups. The four main types of sandblasting include dry blasting, wet blasting, vapor abrasive blasting, and dust-free blasting.

  • Dry blasting is the most common type of sandblasting. It uses compressed air to force abrasive particles against a surface.
  • Wet blasting uses water to cool the abrasive particles and help remove debris.
  • Vapor abrasive blasting mixes water and abrasive particles to create a mist that you can use for delicate surfaces.
  • Dust-free blasting uses a unique containment system to prevent exposure to harmful dust particles.

Ball valves for sandblasting

A ball valve is a valve type that uses a ball to control fluid flow. The ball usually connects to a handle that can be turned to open or close the valve. These valves are easy to operate and can be used with various fluids, including water, gas, and oil. Ball valves are used in multiple plumbing, automotive, and industrial applications.

Ball valves are commonly used as the control valve in sandblasting. Ball valves are typically used at two positions within sandblasting equipment as:

  • a control valve to pass pressurized air to the blast pot to keep the abrasive under high pressure.
  • a mixing valve near the outlet that mixes the abrasive with the air and passes to the nozzle through a hose.

The following are various roles of ball valves in sandblasting and why they are used:

  1. Ball valves control the flow of abrasive material such as sand. This prevents the material from escaping and damaging surrounding areas.
  2. Ball valves are durable and easy to operate, making them ideal for use in sandblasting operations.
  3. When closed, the ball valve provides a barrier that can contain the abrasive material used in sandblasting. When open, the ball valve allows abrasive material to pass through, providing a flow that can be controlled and directed as needed.
  4. Ball valves can also regulate the air pressure for sandblasting. By controlling the pressure, ball valves can help prevent damage to the surface that is being sandblasted.

Ball valves are common in sandblasting because of their durability and resistance to wear. However, a few things to keep in mind when using a ball valve for sandblasting.

  • Ensure correct ratings for the pressure and flow rate of the sandblasting equipment.
  • The ball valve material must be compatible with the abrasive media being used.
  • The ball valve must be regularly inspected for wear and replaced.

By following these simple guidelines, users can ensure that their ball valves provide years of trouble-free operation.

Ball valve material selection

When selecting ball valves for an application, it is essential to consider the type of media flowing through the valve. Read our article on the chemical resistance of materials for more details on different materials used for constructing ball valves and their compliance with the media used. Ball valves used in sandblasting have compressed air as the media; hence the materials chosen for the valve body and seal should be suitable for air. Possible options are:

  • Valve housing: Brass, stainless steel, PVC, and aluminum
  • Seal material: NBR, FKM, or PTFE

Ball valve benefits in sandblasting

Ball valves are simple, durable, and versatile. They can be used in various applications and are relatively easy to maintain.

  • They are durable and can withstand the high pressures generated by sandblasting equipment.
  • Ball valves provide a tight seal that helps to prevent media leakage.
  • They are relatively easy to operate, which is important in sandblasting applications where time is often of the essence.

As a result, ball valves offer an ideal solution for those looking for a durable, reliable, and easy-to-use valve for sandblasting needs.


What is a ball valve?

A ball valve is a type of valve that uses a ball-shaped component to control the flow of liquids or gases. The ball connects to a handle, which you can turn when you wish to open or close the valve.

Do ball valves fail?

Usually no. However, improper operation, faulty installation, and poor design (chemical compatibility, flow rate/rated pressure, etc.) can contribute to ball valve failure.

What are ball valves used for?

Ball valves control valves and shut-off valves for gases and liquids.

How long will a ball valve last?

A ball valve will last about 8-10 years. For such a simple device, it offers enormous value to the water and gas industries.

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