Glass bead abrasives are small, spherical white glass particles mainly used for peening applications or polishing substrates because they can in finer form produce no profile. This abrasive is particularly useful for decarbonising engine components or cleaning turbine blades where dimensional stability must be maintained.
Glass grit abrasive is available as a primary grade that is produced from crushed beads or as a secondary grade that is produced from recycled safety or reinforced glass. Drawbacks of grass grit are its softness and its price relative to other abrasives, so it has few uses as a primary grade other than in conjunction with glass bead where a profile is required.
Recycled glass grit is becoming more popular, it is cheap as the raw material has come from the waste stream and quite versatile as it can be used on most substrates. The disadvantages are that it is soft so it breaks down quickly and can produce a lot of dust. One other disadvantage is that it leaves a highly reflective substrate due to the embedded glass grit, which can be multicoloured due to the raw material source which tends to be mixed coloured glass.