Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name


Degree Program

Engineering and Applied Science


Civil and Environmental Engineering

Major Professor

Kura, Bhaskar

Second Advisor

Barbe, Donald

Third Advisor

Cothren, Gianna

Fourth Advisor

Tarr, Matthew

Fifth Advisor

Busch, William


Dry abrasive blasting is a commonly used surface preparation operation by many process industries to clean up metallic surfaces and achieve surface finishes suitable for future adhesion. Abrasives used in this process can be recyclable or expendable. This study was undertaken to evaluate the performance of three recyclable abrasives: garnet, barshot and steel grit/shot in terms of productivity (area cleaned per unit time), consumption (amount of abrasive used per unit area cleaned) and uncontrolled total particulate matter (TPM) emission factors (in terms of mass of pollutant emitted per unit area cleaned and mass of pollutant emitted per unit mass of abrasive consumed). Though there have been various attempts in the past to evaluate the performance of these abrasives, there has not been a streamlined approach to evaluate these parameters in the commonly used range of process conditions, or to identify and model the influences of key process variables on these performance parameters. The first step in this study was to evaluate the performance of these three abrasives in blasting painted steel panels under enclosed blasting conditions and using USEPA recommended protocols. The second step was to model the influences of blast pressure and abrasive feed rate, two most critical parameters on productivity, consumption and emission factors. Two and three dimensional models were obtained using multiple linear regression techniques to express productivity, consumption and TPM emission factors in terms of blast pressure and abrasive feed rate. Barshot was found to have high productivities over all and steel grit/shot demonstrated the least emission potential at almost all of the tested pressure and feed rate conditions. The data will help fill the gaps in literature currently available for dry abrasive blasting performance. The models obtained will help industries, the research community and the regulatory agencies to make accurate estimates of the performance parameters. Estimating productivity and consumption will help industries identify best management practices by optimizing the process conditions to achieve high productivity and low consumption rates. Emission factor determination will help in reducing the emissions to the atmosphere by choosing process conditions corresponding to minimum emissions. The performance parameters once optimized can result in reduction in material, labor, energy, emission and disposal costs, lower resource utilization and hence reduction in overall life cycle costs of dry abrasive process. The developed models will help industries in making environmentally preferable purchases thereby promoting source reduction options. PM emissions estimated using the models presented here will aid studies on health risk associated with inhalation of atmospheric PM.


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