Surface Preparation Standards, Part 2 – Dust Measurements and Considerations

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As an expert in the surface finishing industry, Rosler knows that all the expertise in the world won’t do any good if the surface of the work piece is not properly prepared.


When it comes to structural steel, we receive many questions about preparation. Among the most common questions is, “How is the presence of dust on shot-blasted structural steel components evaluated?”


Understanding dust considerations and mitigation will help produce higher quality and longer-lasting structural steel components more cost-effectively and safely.


The Dangers of Dust


Blast-cleaned structural steel surfaces must be completely free of dust to ensure proper coating and painting. Residual dust will reduce the adhesion of subsequently applied coatings and, by absorbing moisture, may promote the corrosion of the blast‐cleaned steel surfaces.


The potential accumulation of dust is especially critical on horizontal surfaces, the interior of pipes, and inside structural cavities. Special inspections must be carried out to ensure that such areas are adequately cleaned and free from dust before painting.



Standards of Assessment


The most common standard of assessment for dust is ISO 8502–3:2017. Also known as the pressure‐sensitive tape method, this ISO standard describes a procedure to test shot blasted steel surfaces for dust and provides a reference description and photo with six dust ratings for comparison.


On a scale of 0 to 5, the observation of dust particles and diameter are rated as follows:


Visual rust scale


0 – No particles are visible under 10x magnification.


1 – Particles are visible under 10x magnification but not with normal or corrected vision; particles are usually less than 50 ÎŒm in diameter.


2 – Particles are just visible with normal or corrected vision; usually between 50 and 100 ÎŒm in diameter.


3 – Particles are clearly visible with normal or corrected vision; up to 0.5 mm in diameter.


4 – Particles are clearly visible; between 0.5 and 2.5 mm in diameter


5 – Particles are clearly visible; larger than 2.5 mm in diameter


Testing for Dust


ISO 8502 testing kit


Special ISO 8502 kits include a 10x magnifier, adhesive tape to ISO 8502‐3 specification, comparator display board/operating instructions, a dust assessment plate, and 25 test record sheets.


Proper procedure is required to accurately test for ISO 8502-3 using the kit.


  1. Remove a piece of tape about 8 in (200 mm) long.
  2. Place the sticky side of the tape onto the test surface; rub along the length of the tape using constant pressure several times.
  3. Pull the tape away from the test surface, compare the dust on the tape with the comparator display board and record the estimated dust rating number.
  4. Repeat the test at least three times on the surface being investigated.


Minimum Requirements


The dust test per ISO 8502‐3 is subjective and does not allow the precise determination of dust on a blast cleaned surface, but the rating can be a very useful approximation when carried out by experienced operators.


Painting schedules usually call for shot blasted surfaces prior to painting to be free of dust. A generally accepted rule stipulates that the particle quantity and particle size do not exceed rating 2 of ISO 8502‐3.


Rosler blow-off station




Removing Residual Dust


To remove residual blast media and dust from the work pieces shot blasted steel components are usually passed through a blow‐off station. These stations are frequently combined with a brush‐off system.


The Rosler Way


Rosler has more than 80 years of experience developing surface finishing technology and systems.  We are confident that we can answer your surface finishing questions and develop a solution to meet your needs. Contact us today to discuss your unique challenges.


Additional information about surface preparation standards is available in Part 1 of this series, “Evaluating Surfaces Throughout Finishing Processes.”

#Dust #Shot Blasting #Structural Steel #Surface Measurements #Surface Preparation