A Comprehensive Guidance on Steel Shot Sizes

steel shot pellets

1. Brief Overview of Steel Shot

1.1 Basic Definition and Properties of Steel Shot

Steel shots are composed of spherical pellets made of steel. It is manufactured by atomizing melted steel (converting it into small droplets) and then solidifying it into a spherical shape. The size of these particles can vary according to their intended use.


Material Composition:

high-carbon steel, low-carbon steel, or stainless steel. The choice of material affects the hardness and durability of the shot.


The hardness of steel shot is a critical property that determines its impact on the surface being treated. It’s usually measured using the Rockwell or Vickers hardness scales. High-carbon steel shot tends to be harder and is used for more aggressive operations, while low-carbon steel shot is softer and used where less abrasion is needed.

Size and Shape:

Steel shot is characterized by its spherical shape, which promotes a uniform cleaning or peening action. The size of the steel shot is selected based on the application. Larger sizes are more aggressive and are used for cleaning heavy scales, while smaller sizes are used for finer work.

Density and Weight:

Steel shot is dense and heavy, which contributes to its effectiveness in impacting and cleaning surfaces.


It is more durable than many other abrasives, which allows for repeated recycling and use in blasting operations.


Suitable for a variety of surface preparation tasks, including cleaning, descaling, and surface finishing.


Due to its properties, steel shot can be very efficient in reducing blasting time and achieving desired surface profiles.

1.2 The Significance of Size Selection in Steel Shot Applications

  • Surface Finish Quality Cleaning Efficiency
  • Impact on Material
  • Coverage and Speed
  • Operational Cost
  • Equipment Considerations
  • Safety and Environmental Impact

2.The Variety of Steel Shot Sizes

2.1 Steel Shot Sizes

Steel shot is commonly used in sandblasting and shot peening processes, with various sizes. The size of the steel shot is an important factor in determining the aggressiveness and impact of the blasting process. The following is an overview of common steel shot sizes:


Very Small Sizes (Fine Grade):

S70: Diameter approximately 0.2 mm. Ideal for delicate work requiring fine surface finish.

S110: Diameter around 0.3 mm. Used for light cleaning and precision peening.

Small Sizes (Medium Fine Grade):

S170: Diameter close to 0.4 mm. Suitable for light to moderate cleaning and surface preparation.

S230: Diameter approximately 0.6 mm. Good for balancing fine surface finish with cleaning efficiency.

Medium Sizes:

steel -shot-280

S280: Diameter around 0.7 mm. Common for general-purpose blasting and peening.

S330: Diameter about 0.8 mm. Versatile for various medium-duty applications.

Large Sizes (Medium Coarse Grade):

S390: Diameter approximately 1.0 mm. Ideal for more aggressive cleaning and surface preparation.

S460: Diameter around 1.2 mm. Used for robust cleaning tasks.

Very Large Sizes (Coarse Grade):

S550: Diameter close to 1.4 mm. Suitable for heavy-duty cleaning and aggressive surface prep.

S660: Diameter approximately 1.7 mm. Often used in heavy industrial applications.

steel -shot-780

S780: Diameter around 2.0 mm. Ideal for very aggressive cleaning tasks, like removing heavy scale.

Specialty Sizes:

There are also specialty sizes for specific applications or industries that require unique specifications.

2.2 Size Classification and Industry Standards




Society of Automotive Engineers) Standards


International Organization for Standardization


Aerospace Material Specifications


American Foundry Society

3. Impact of Size on Performance

3.1 How Different Sizes Affect Cleaning, Peening, and Finishing Processes

The size of steel shot plays a crucial role in determining its effectiveness in various processes such as cleaning, shot peening, and precision machining. Each application has specific requirements for the size of the shot to achieve the desired effect.

Steel Shot Size in Cleaning Processes

Choosing the appropriate size of steel shot for effective surface cleaning is of great importance. For example, precise cleaning requires the use of smaller shot peening sizes, while for harder layers or severe rust, larger shot peening is required. Different sizes of steel balls also have different effects on cleaning speed and surface profile.

steel shot peening process

Steel Shot Size in Peening Processes

The size of the shot has a direct impact on the coverage rate. Larger shot sizes cover more area per unit but may not uniformly peen smaller or intricate areas. Smaller shot sizes, while covering less area per unit, can achieve more uniform coverage, especially in detailed areas.

Steel Shot Size in Finishing Processes

Steel shot is commonly used in shot blasting, a process where steel beads are propelled at high velocity onto the surface of a material.

The size of the steel shot impacts the coverage area and the intensity of the blast. Larger shots cover more area but can be too aggressive for delicate parts, while smaller shots offer finer finishing but take longer to cover the same area.

3.2 Case Studies or Examples Illustrating the Impact of Size Choice

Automotive Industry - Deburring Process

Automotive Industry – Deburring Process

After testing different shot sizes, the manufacturer chose small-sized steel shot for the deburring process.

The small shot size was effective in gently removing the burrs without impacting the structural integrity of the gears.

The smaller shot provided thorough coverage and could reach the intricate areas between the gear teeth.


Shipbuilding Industry – Surface Preparation for Painting

The company opted for a medium to large-sized steel shot for the blasting process.

The larger shot size was effective in quickly removing the rust and old paint layers from the large panels.

It also provided the right degree of roughness on the steel surface, which was ideal for paint adhesion.

4. Tips for Matching Steel Shot Size with Specific Applications

The key is to carefully consider the materials, required surface treatment effects, required precision, geometric shape of the parts, and subsequent processes such as coating or painting. By matching the size of the steel shot with these factors, the most effective and efficient results can be achieved during the surface treatment process.

5. How to Assess the Quality of Steel Shot

Assessing the quality of steel shot is crucial for ensuring effective and efficient surface treatment processes. Here are key factors to evaluate the quality of steel shot:

Material Composition and Consistency

Verify that the steel shot is made from high-quality steel with the correct chemical composition.


Measure the hardness of the steel shot, as it should match the specifications for its intended use.

Size and Shape

Use sieves to verify that the size distribution of the steel shot is within the specified range.

Durability and Life Expectancy

Assess the durability of steel shot by testing its life expectancy in a controlled environment.

6. Conclusion

In summary, the selection of steel shot size plays a crucial role in a wide range of surface treatment processes in various industries. Yafeite Group is the leading manufacturer of metal abrasives including steel shot, steel grit, stainless steel shot, and steel cut wire shot. If you are looking for the high-quality of steel shot, we are looking forward to cooperating with you.

Please contact us if you need any information about our service and products. 

Email: info@sdgangtie.com

Phone: +8618654501991

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